A very personal blog

Tell me exactly what happened “Well I was in the back of one of the convoy vehicles, we were passing through a village on the way to a large oil and gas field. We were driving slowly when a woman ran in front of the lead vehicle. The vehicle struck her. At first we were unsure of what happened as she had fallen beneath the level of the windscreen. The leader of the convoy got out to help. In a flash the lady was taken straight to hospital in a car that was nearby. Immediately a crowd of local people gathered around the vehicle and became very aggressive. They started shouting and a number of the crowd picked up large stones threatening the vehicles and the passengers, they also started to block us in with local vehicles and by placing bricks under the vehilces”. It is interesting to think about our own reactions and what we would do to resolve the situation that is now developing in front of us. You are on a business trip looking for a commercial advantage or to support the local community in a social enterprise and then you are engulfed in a situation that is extremely difficult to judge and where the wrong decision can literally mean the difference between life and death. What would you have done in the situation above?

I always like to run a number of scenarios through my mind in any business activity I am involved in. I work through each scenario and play out the possible consequences and then it gives me a data base of options. Even though they are not real it means that my mind can still work quickly and let me have a number of options to work through. I then just have to trust myself to make the correct decision. My time in Iraq was invaluable for a number of reasons. It refreshed my thoughts in so many areas. It brought out a harder edge also. I was out there to look at commercial opportunities and look at security across the board. What do I mean by a harder edge? I mean the ability to ensure that you are in the zone at all times. That you are using all the skills you have and that they must work together, you are in perfect flow. I listened to the above scenario and wondered what I would have done in the same situation, I also asked for people to take me through as many experiences over the last two years and what were the outcomes, good and bad. I visualised each scenario and took myself through them bit by bit. I looked at my decision making process and what would be the likely outcome of each scenario if I took a particular path. I also brought to life my other past experiences and I found all the information I needed to understand the environment from a technical and tactical perspective.

I discuss/teach about the ability to be in the correct frame of reference all of the time. For me it means to be in the now, not to worry about how I got here or what is going to happen in the future but to understand what I need to do now to sort out the situation, to take action. The future will take care of itself if I operate at my best. I can also learn from the past later. The great thing about teaching, is to fully understand why I teach about being in the correct frame of reference. This frame of mind made me sharper in all of my later discussions and gave me a sense of balance once more.

The team in the above situation handled it perfectly, they spoke to a local elder, kept the situation as calm as possible, they called all of the relevant authorities and ensured that this situation which was literally on a knife edge did not escalate.

Whilst working here I have decided to also work alongside a company I have admired for awhile and we are finally working through the terms and conditions. It means I will be spending a proportion of my time each month working on a number of commercial opportunities. I am now working in two multinational organisations, putting myself back in the pressure zone of business as well as carrying on with teaching my thoughts on leadership and performance under pressure. I like having the balance of academic understanding and the reality of making it work in real life, it helps me to teach in a very authentic way.

Over the next week I am working with a footballer and meeting his family and support structure. I have never seen an individual achieve success without having support from others. The key is to ensure that all of the supporting structures are working together ensuring that each element performs their part as well as they can. It then leaves no excuse for the individual to not perform well. I also have the opportunity to work with another talented sportsman whom I think will become a World Champion one day or as a minimum in the top ten in the World. This process will be exactly the same. It also ensures that the support structures are challenging to the individual and supportive where necessary.

Later in the week I am also presenting to a number of Olympic coaches on Courage in adversity, which I am looking forward to. The countdown to the start of the Olympic Games is fast approaching. It has also reminded me to check on the work I did with the organisations concerned with the safety and security of the Olympic Games and see if they have addressed the problems identified in the last exercise.

I am often asked if it is possible to replicate a real life experience as in the incident described above or a person playing for their country at sport. The answer is that I can come very close to it and on occasion put someone/team in a position that is beyond anything they are likely to experience in real life. If we train/practice as if it was for real then we narrow the gap when it does matter.

I will also be having an MRI scan on my knees later in the week to see what the damage is currently. I do not think the photographs will be pretty. However the consultant I am going to see is one of the best in the country so hopefully we will be able to find a solution to the problem. My black eye is starting to fade so that is a plus but it did make an interesting conversational piece. I fly out tomorrow which I am looking forward to for a variety of reasons although I will miss the sun. Have a lovely week.

Negotiating skills

At Chrysalis we have seen people with enormous talent and with strong ideas who never get their message across and so fail to unify their teams. The ability to negotiate effectively with our families, our colleagues and in our business lives is paramount.

During Chrysalis’s negotiating sessions experienced coaches work in small groups to ensure that from now on all negotiations and communications will be conducted clearly, passionately and effectively.

Everyone undertaking the sessions is introduced to simple and reliable methods in active listening, building rapport and working an audience. The so-called ‘negotiation stairway’ is central to our coaching and achieves remarkable results.