Just flying out to Pakistan (finally). This trip has been in the planning stages for the last few month with the team nearly deploying on a number of occasions only to find something has changed and the go criteria was therefore not met. This is the price an elite team of individuals will have to pay when working in hostile or challenging environments. It is a consequence of not having enough information and having to take calculated risks. The key is how you mitigate those risks. The most important factor in that mitigation is that you have prepared the team to perform in difficulty circumstances so that they can think for themselves as individuals and team members where necessary. I am looking forward to seeing how they perform once we are in country and the real difficulties of this operation become real problems.
Once nice thing about the trip so far other than business class (yes I know I said it was going to be challenging but not en route getting there) was that we were given special passes to get through customs; this would be wonderful for travelling on holiday.
Day two of the Pakistan trip has been very fruitful. We have met all the relevant people and the plan is coming together. We have now sent for the rest of the team to come here and they will arrive in the next 24hrs to start phase two. Will be nice to see the benefits of this project and how it should help numerous organisations get the country back on it’s feet.
The last week has also been great for getting back into shape and stepping in to the boxing ring. I was taken down to the gym by my son. Who constantly informed me en route that he was stronger, fitter and faster than me. The difficult thing to admit is that he is definitely close in a couple of those areas.
I have always loved the reaction you get when you walk in to a boxing gym or other high performing environment. You can see everyone instantly size you up and see if you are a threat to them. I have been fortunate to box in a few professional gyms and the same sequence happens, especially if you are new. A quick glance from the boxers, a little bit of posturing, followed by a display of hitting boxing bags slightly harder and moving faster between punches. However as soon as the training or sparring takes place the sense of camaraderie becomes tangible as each person and group are put through the same arduous training. Consequently the respect for each person who steps in to the arena grows as you pour out sweat and in some cases blood for the same cause. The good news was that there are people bigger than me there so lots of people to spar with.
I was also very pleased that I managed to hold my own in the gym, walking away with only a few aches and pains but with my face still intact.
Work wise it has been an interesting week. I worked with the cricket academy over the previous weekend and was very pleased with what we achieved. We are compiling the player review forms. Thi will set the bench mark for those who continue on the programme and give us an objective measure to judge them by. We will also speak with all of those involved in each player’s future development. This will include those closest to them. From there If they fail to attain 80% of their goals they will be taken off the programme unless there are extenuating circumstances. The programme will be demanding but very beneficial for the players in understanding what is required to become the future England stars of the future.
On Tuesday I took a team to the high and low ropes course in Wokefield Park, Reading. It is an excellent facility and allowed us to have fun, work outside but also keep focussed on the teams development.
The team really defined their current start point and broke down some of the barriers that had been hindering them over the last few months. It was nice to see those that would not normally speak up find their voice and give very good feedback that will benefit the whole group in time. I gave them an action plan guide which they will send back to me. It will be shown to all of the members of the team so that they can be held accountable to one another for the actions of their plan.
It is so important to have clear action points that are time driven.
I also spoke with them about a leader’s shadow. I came across this summary which covers the point I made to them “It’s primarily the leaders actions that inspire people to do more, to be more and to learn more. It’s the actions of the leader which leads to an organisations culture. In a nutshell, culture represents “the way we do things around here”. Culture is the shadow of the leader. Looking at your team or organisations culture you see the leaders reflection. The reflection we see can be a difficult for us to handle. If not careful, we respond by trying to defend or to rationalise away why what we see in others is not of our making. In this way, we fail to take responsibility for what has resulted from our actions. Without taking responsibility the first steps require to change the situation becomes impossible….!
As difficult as it may be, we need to face the reality the our team and organisations culture is a reflection of our leadership. Accepting this responsibility is the first step to change and as we all know, change begins ourselves. As Ghandi said many years ago we all need to strive to become the “change we want to see in the world“…. in this case we need to be the change we want to see in others…!”
I have also just received the report from the exercise I ran in July. This was going to be a document that was sent out after 21 days of the exercise finishing so that people could identify the areas of concern and then action them. I have read through this document and feel certain elements have been watered down from my recollections of the day. It has also been late in arriving for the set deadline that was given originally.
The other problem is that although there are some outstanding points captured and actions clearly listed to be taken, they are not time bound as much as they should be. This allows people to continue to debate issues and delay putting the measures in place. Interesting to see whether the Commonwealth Games will be successful and whether this will be down to excellent prior preparation and planning or down to good luck. Far too many people rely on good luck.
Trip to the accountant was interesting and I am sure I am paying far too much tax to work. It is a good job I enjoy it.
Well that is it for now have a wonderful week ahead.