Think a different way…..

Unwrapping some seeds I’d germinated, it dawned on me, I hadn’t labeled them! 

I knew they were one of three vegetables – courgettes, beans or mini cucumbers.

I like all three so it will be fun to see what they actually grow into now I’ve planted them.

Why post this on LinkedIn?

Two things:

1. Watching them grow and noticing the changes each day is great for my positive well-being.

2. It’s not the things that happen to us that impacts us – negatively or positively – at home or at work – but how we look at them.

Stop, reflect, challenge your thoughts to think a more positive way.

#selfcarematters#betterworkingworld#kindnessiscontagious

Growing Talent – a unique collaboration

I’m so excited by the increase in numbers of interested applicants referred by #JobCentrePlus#London driven by Anna and her team.

Humans make assumptions based on labels without challenging these thoughts. This can be crippling especially when in the recruitment field. Employers can miss out on innovative, new diverse talent and individuals can miss out on job opportunities that literally have the capacity to change their lives. 

Some of the assumptions I’ve encountered over the years by unenlightened employers include:

‘single parent’ = unreliable
‘unemployed’ = lazy
‘homeless’ = too much trouble

Equally, unemployed people often make assumptions:

‘I can’t’
‘I don’t have the experience’
‘I’m not worthy’

Growing Talent was designed to remove these assumptions making a level playing field for employers to grow their own talent in situ before confidently hiring and for individuals to be seen for their talent and potential – not their label.

This process has worked for over eight years – including during the Covid years because of CCD. Communication. Collaboration and Drive.  

Listening to and supporting both the employers and unemployed participants, joining the support of work coaches at JobCentre Plus, mentoring 24/7 throughout the journey has seen over 178 people from diverse social economic and cultural backgrounds secure permanent jobs and change their lives – literally.  

Employers have secured diverse new talent and the positive impact this brings without the shackles of traditional recruitment methods.

The 29th programme of Growing Talent kicks off with 72 interested applicants joining the information session tomorrow.  

Diverse opportunities from our fabulous employers taking part Masterfix GB LimitedPertemps Network Group#SwissPostSolutions#OfficeConciergeISS Facility Services UKRestore plc#ZeroWasteTechnologies will be life changing for those they select.

The journey ahead is inspiring and energising!

Nooooo!!!

Catching up with Florence over the weekend, she shared with me Suaad had discovered these Gulp Jugs for sale and now the fabulous Growing Talent trio – Florence, Ella and Suaad are going to buy one to commemorate their time on Growing Talent.

Why is this a big deal? 

Whilst I’m proud these empowered, dynamic women loved the learning and confidence building of our week together #orientationand #holistic prior to going on their employer’s site & have used the knowledge consistently to the extent they want to remember it always …… I DISLIKE INTENTLY these jugs!

Why? 

My mum had one for years which I complained about every time I went round. It was, in my view ugly and an awful shade of green. She threatened to leave it to me – which she did! I was amazed to sell it at a boot sale for 50p (I couldn’t believe someone would pay any money for it!).

Fast forward 10 years to Growing Talent 28th Orientation and Holistic week at etc venues in Fenchurch Place. What do they use for water jugs? Oh yes! I was confronted by a sea of these gulp jugs which Ella, Florence and Suaad thought hysterical!

What’s the message of this tale? 

For me, anything that evokes memories of fun, collaboration, growth, empathy and kindness has got to be good….. even if it’s an awful gulp jug!!!

Positive Mental Health – It’s a Global Thing….

It’s so grounding to work virtually with people from different countries and cultures to learn how mental health is viewed in their countries.

This week, I had the honour of delivering the global, accredited I-act Managing Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing to delegates from China, Taiwan, Korea and Germany.

All highly engaged, sharing their experiences and insights into how mental health is viewed in their Home Countries. One thing is clear, people the world over are passionate and proactive to learn how to maintain optimum positive mental health whilst raising their awareness and confidence in supporting those around them.

What made the event even more special, was all delegates undertook the course as part of their journey to become an accredited I-act Instructor within their business.

The word is clearly spreading.

Positive mental health is critical not only to individuals, but to families, communities, businesses, economies – in fact, everything!

I’m so proud to be part of this global awareness.

Workplace in a post pandemic era – scary?

Its essential employers do everything possible to ensure their workplaces – physical and virtual – are operating at peak wellness and wellbeing especially with the nearing post covid era we are entering – emotions can be in turmoil.

Delivering training on how our behaviours impact those around us (Emotional Intelligence), how to communicate and collaborate effectively, how to build a resilient, productive environment where individuals at all levels learn skills and tools to look after themselves – and those around them – is critical in these constantly changing and uncertain times.

Where to start? We can overthink and procrastinate for ever trying to identify the ‘perfect’ solution but end up not actually doing anything.

Working during Covid has been a unique experience for everyone depending on their own particular situation. Not everyone has worked from a safe home with its own garden, financially secure with a solid network of support.

Coupled with this is everyone’s unique level of resilience. This is a key area for employers to look at as it directly impacts their business, brand reputation and bottom line. How to give some tools to ensure their people know their level of resilience, how to increase it and thereby be more able to deal with the curve balls life throws.

Having delivered many accredited courses and my own bespoke workshops in this critical area over many years, i-act is the most effective, robust commercial product for staff and their businesses on the market in my view. Why?

  • Quick deliver – 4 hours – delivered virtually making it accessible for hybrid workers across the globe
  • Robust, easy to access 168 colour co-ordinated manual, containing over 50 tools for self-care and 95 referral organisations. Digital version also available.
  • Accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and carries 3 CPD points -for delegates
  • Accreditation lasts three years with access to I-act’s website for news, updates and downloads
  • Designed specifically for the workplace
  • Proactive – not reactive. Focus is on early intervention, building resilience
  • How to set and maintain personal protective barriers
  • So much more!

Collaboration and learning together is the best way to grow. Some of the key findings delegates shared on recent courses from diverse industries and levels of seniority include:

“A complex topic nicely categorised by the book and the ‘I-acted’ approach – so ordered, accessible and useable”.

” The self-care and wellbeing advice and activities was a key takeaway for me. It has given me more concrete ideas of where I can improve, particularly as someone who has a diagnosed mental illness.”

“Learning the simple scale tool to start a conversation was my standout. I will definitely use this going forward.”

“From some of the past support I’ve given my team, having the opportunity to understand more about some of the classifications of mental ill health was really helpful.”

“Learning how to ask the suicide question really helped me, It’s a difficult subject”

It seems to me the title ‘First Aider’ gives the impression delegates are ‘qualified’ to deliver first line intervention. This isn’t always the case. The emotional intelligence to speak to others at the time of emotional vulnerability whilst looking after yourself is critical and not something everyone can do naturally.

Yet, many employers don’t assess their employees before putting them on these kind of courses. Are they in the right headspace to do this kind of course? Do they have the communication skills to support someone else? Do they have the insight to know when to get involved and when they need to pass it on to protect themselves? Do they make their self-care a priority? It seems to be more a ‘tick in the box’ exercise. How much damage could that potentially do to both parties – not to mention brand reputation of the business?

I’m often asked what I would do if I wanted to make sure my staff and workplace thrived – not just survived. I would use a journey of steps – ensuring collaboration with staff at every step:

Step one – discover what the emotional temperature of my workplace and people is? To know and not just assume where the pressure points are I would run an Emotional Culture Survey. A quick survey which takes just a few minutes to complete online and examines 10 key areas of pressures across all departments and levels of staff giving results in minutes.

Step two – workshop to understand the impact our behaviours have on those around us which we may be completely unaware of but this impact can last years. Not an issue if that impact is positive – but what if it isn’t?

Step three – run the developmental, global Genos Emotional Intelligence assessments across all levels of staff for them to see any gaps between the level of importance of six core competencies and the level of demonstration raters see followed by coaching sessions to enable them to see insights, actions and benefits leading to stronger 360 connections and increased personal development.

A global programme delivering specialist workplace and leadership critical tools.

Step four – deliver I-act – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing – for line managers and Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing for non-managers. Both deliver the key tools noted above.

Step five – run continuous workshops, discussions, fun events during which work is not discussed. Instead focussing on empowering staff to break the stigma and fear our emotions can have by talking without fear about emotions. In addition have fun getting to know each other as humans working together who have lives outside of work not just colleagues doing a job.

Now, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Government has announced the end of restrictions in England next week.

Is now the time to start preparing your teams and workplace to thrive?

Knowledge is Power!

Yesterday saw the final delivery of @I-act Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health & Wellbeing of the year!

Now the team of managers have tools and knowledge to enable them to increase their own self-care and those around them in the workplace – ‘I can and I will’ is the new mantra!

Designed specifically for the workplace, I-act Managing & Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing is proactive and accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. It teaches over 50 tools for self-care that can be used in supporting those around them as well. Proactive – early intervention leads to a quicker recovering. Learning when to start a conversation, how to prepare for it, techniques to ensure the individual feels validated and supported to identify their own solution, setting personal boundaries, assessing levels of interventions including suicide builds confidence in the workplace leading to a much more positive workplace.

What’s not to like?

Leadership – what happens when they experience their own behaviours?

I have long been interested in the kindness of humans and the impact our behaviours and actions have on those around us. Both positive and negative impacts can last decades. 

We can all relate to the feelings left by someone in our past years after the event. Their words and actions might fade with time but the feelings their behaviours caused are as raw now as they were then. Think of the worst boss, teacher or partner you ever had. How did they make you feel? How long ago did you know them? See what I mean?

How we show up matters – especially in the workplace, especially if we hold leadership positions.

As humans, many of us do not think about the impact we have on others. We expect them to experience the impact in line with our intentions. But here’s the thing. They don’t know what our intentions were, unless we tell them – which we rarely do.

The pieces of the jigsaw in the picture above, for me, make an effective, intelligent leader:

  1. THINKING – how is what I am going to say and do going to be received? There’s a reason our parents tell us to ‘think before we speak’!
  2. CONNECTING – do I really connect with my team? do I know anything about them outside work? do we have fun at work?
  3. EMPATHETIC – do I empathise with my team? use my awareness of their uniqueness to connect and collaborate with them to ensure they are empowered to flourish in the workplace?
  4. AUTHENTIC – do I really deliver on everything I say I will and if there is an issue which will stop me delivering – do I share this with my team? do I take them on a collaborative journey to deliver what’s needed?
  5. AWARENESS OF SELF AND OTHERS – am I aware of when I might be struggling? what about my team? do I use my knowledge of my team to adapt my behaviours to meet their individual needs?
  6. WHAT IMPACT? – What impact do I really have on my team? do I ask them regularly for their thoughts on what I’m doing well and what I can do better? Do they know I value their opinions even if I’m not going to follow everything, I will always listen to their views.

As a certified Genos Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, I’m even more sure of the jigsaw pieces!

A current project has shown just how critical emotionally intelligent leadership is.

Let me set the context. A global organisation wanted to develop their key leadership team by finding out where they fell in core competency areas compared with how their connections felt.

Each leader nominated several raters from all categories of their connections – line management, peers, direct reports and others (suppliers, clients etc). Each rater completed a survey of 42 questions. The resulting 360 Emotionally Intelligent Leadership report revealed any gaps. The qualitative text facility enables raters to put into context their ratings.

Here’s the thing. Hardly anyone added qualitative text. Leaving many of the leaders bewildered on why they had been scored low in some areas.

My question to them on the debrief was “how does that make you feel?” which drew a range of answers – none of which were positive.

Then I asked “how many of the surveys you were a rater on did you leave qualitative text to give context to your ratings?”

Then came the lightbulb moment….

“Well, I assumed they would know so I didn’t leave any” came the response.

My final question “if you went back to the beginning of this process, would you add some qualitative text to give context to what your rating?”

“Yes, I now know how it feels to get a low score without knowing why”

Why share this event with you? Two reasons really

  1. It never ceases to amaze me how common it is for leaders to ‘assume’ everyone they connect with is clairvoyant and knows what the intention behind their actions was
  2. The power of that lightbulb moment when they realise the power of changing their behaviours.

How we show up matters. Your team are your most critical asset. They are they ones delivery the service for your clients. If they aren’t happy and flourishing – the relationship with your clients won’t either.

How does your leadership team show up?

Spreading the @I-act word!

What a full on, interactive, knowledge sharing week it’s been so far and we’re only at Wednesday!

An unexpected, last minute re-schedule request saw two I-act Managing & Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing delivered on Monday with a little over one hour gap – exhilarating!

The first with a utilities organisation who have already delivered this course to many of their managers and seen the benefits of doing so….

Followed by a leading UK university – this time with some of their senior managers and academic staff. I never thought I’d be training a ‘Professor’! Fabulous collaboration and sharing of experience and thoughts.

In between these, work on a potential new advertising campaign for Growing Talent in the New Year, ongoing processing for 25 Genos EI Assessments for a global facilities services company – progressing nicely then yesterday I delivered I-act Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing to a mixed cohort including managers from diverse industries wanting to upskill their knowledge and some trainee instructors doing this as part of their accredited instructor journey….

What an honour it’s been to work virtually with so many people in such a short time!

What was some of the feedback?

“The course was very interesting and so close to my heart”

“You made us all feel included and comfortable – I learned so many new tools”

“I’m going straight back to work to talk to my managers – we need to do more of this!”

And what happened when I mentioned nose hair? Well, that’s a whole other post.

Some weeks are full to the brim with activity, new learning and wonderment. If we just open ourselves up to every opportunity – who knows where it will lead or the new connections we’ll secure!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away


Yesterday I had the honour of playing a small part in new trainee instructors for @i-acttraining on their journey to become accredited.

Delivering the Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing course to them and some insightful managers joining to upskill themselves in this critical area is always insightful. This session more so than others.

Learning how different workplaces still have a deficit in understanding, analysing and recognising the emotional culture of their environment, the emotional intelligence of their teams – tops to bottom – and the wellbeing of all staff has been an eye opener over the many years I’ve worked in the strategic area of personal growth.  

We all recognise Covid has added additional pressures.  These pressures are more amplified and dangerous where there has been no examination of emotional intelligence and workplace culture nor effective well-being tools taught.

Over recent months I’ve heard heartfelt concerns about the toxic workplace cultures, lack of empathy and focus on staff’s wellbeing some delegates have expressed.  

These concerns are even more stark when the delegates are from charities, often working through their lunch, exhausted and running on empty to satisfy their leaders working well away from the ‘front-line’. Wait for it, many are volunteers – not paid but exhausting themselves because they care so much about the end user.

What jolted me yesterday was a delegate from a regional control centre for the ambulance service sharing the results of a survey carried out in their area.  77% of respondents from the service said they were experiencing mental ill health issues, feeling demotivated and running on empty. What’s more telling is a further 10% refused to answer those particular questions around their health. So it’s reasonable to believe 87% of the ambulance crews in this region feel like this. Just reflect on that for a moment.

We are told often the NHS is facing it’s biggest pressure ever due to Covid, winter etc.  We can talk about mis-management, underfunding and so on – issues that have likely been present for decades. We hear so much about this that we become numb to it ‘the NHS has been like that for years’.  That may be true – but reflect on those frontline staff we all depend on in our own emergency situations experiencing similar to what the delegate shared below.  

But here’s the thing, this delegate shared that none of their colleagues have time to practice their own self-care.  They eat fast food continuously because it’s a case of what can they grab quickly in the few minutes they might be able to snatch in between ‘shouts’.  There is no time for ‘fun’ in the workplace.  Every work place should have fun in it.  @i-acttraining is great at teaching well-being windows we can all do that nurture our wellbeing and build our resilience levels, clear our minds to enable rational thought and deliver the energy needed to get through the shifts. These can be done alone or as part of a team and cost NO MONEY but deliver so many benefits.

The delegate was fired-up at the end of the session to take back the critical learning to their managers. 

All workplace cultures have to change.  Energy and investment should be aimed at staff – they are the ones looking after your end clients.  If they are feeling exhausted, demotivated and devalued – newsflash – you clients will feel it and go elsewhere.  Your business and profits will suffer.

I personally don’t want an ambulance crew turning up when I’m in the most awful situation of my life knowing they are running on empty and suffering themselves.  Do you?

Nor do I want to interact with anyone I am buying products or services from who are also exhausted.  Do you?

Richard Branson on being interviewed many years ago on how he made Virgin such a success said something like “I don’t focus on my clients.  I focus on my staff.  If they are in a great place, they will deliver a great service to my clients” Fabulous insight.

Focussing on budgets, deadlines is what the NHS, and may businesses have done for years.  

Where would they be now if they had focussed on the emotional culture of their workplace, the behavioural impact of their management on teams, the wellbeing and self-care of all their staff?

Keep doing the same thing will only deliver the same results.

Is now the time for workplaces – ALL workplaces – to do better and differently?

So where to start?

You can’t change what you can’t see.  So stop ignoring, take the blinkers off and investigate, assess and deliver. It’s the only way to be sure your business and teams are thriving, not just surviving.

Investigate – carry out an Emotional Culture Index of your workplace. It’s quick, easy and gives an overview of exactly how your staff feel, compared to how they expected to feel in their role and their ideal level.

Assess – carryout Genos Emotional Intelligence Assessments – the only tool that focuses on development through coaching sessions to achieve closure of gaps revealed in behaviours,

Deliver – Rollout the @i-iacttraining Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing training to all staff managing people.  There is an equivalent role for non-managers Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing.  Both courses deliver over 50 self-care tools which can also be used in supporting others, as well as training in how to implement self-care windows through each day. Accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and delivers CPD points.  This is a global product which can be run anytime, anywhere by the same instructor giving uniform delivery of this bespoke, proactive product.

The Ambulance Service is not the only workplace experiencing issues of mental ill health, exhaustion and demotivation.  How long before those issues bubbling away under the surface, being ignored erupt?

Here’s a thought to finish with – what will happen to your business if you put your people first instead of deadlines and profits?