The creation of a new brand - It's Personal too

I never knew that developing my new brand, website and crafting something after 10 years in business could be so inspiring and energising. Colours remind us all of different brands and navigating through the differing views and perceptions made choosing mine tricky at times.

I did what I've always done - asked those whose opinions count among colleagues, clients and friends, and then of course the family too! Then to complete the ensemble, I added in a splash of professional design and marketing input that I am so lucky to have found in the last few months.

But..with every opinion willingly shared comes association with every colour or shape because it brings to mind a big-named brand; sometimes in a good way and often also not.

Then there is being torn between a favourite colour, in my case red, and what that could convey to potential clients. The Color Psychology of Red is bright and warm, evoking strong emotions. Associated with love, warmth, and comfort, red is also considered an intense, or even angry, color that creates feelings of excitement or intensity. Hmmmmmm that's a little bit of a double-edged sword for me.

Then a question I kept being asked was: '...is there a specific colour on your new website, or a colour that makes people think of you?' to which I found myself realising the only constant colour associated with me is my ginger hair.  It's captured in all the colour photos on my new website and I thought it has to be my accent colour going forward.  So the 'hot' orange logo was born.

Yes orange is the striking colour for Easyjet and B&Q, both of which I purchase from, but it's also the tick in Nike and what makes GlaxoSmithKline stand out.

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Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance. And that quite simply is a list I can hold true to my principles, how I operate and support my clients in any aspect of their development as leaders.

Let's take my ginger logo out to the world and see the splash it makes.

 

The leadership of a national gymnastic coach

All eyes will be on Glasgow from tomorrow and hopes for our Men's GB Gymnastics Squad. Like many others I will of course be willing each gymnast on, and with club loyalty to Pegasus Gymnastics in Maidstone, my heart especially goes out to their gymnasts James Hall and Courtney Tulloch.

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But, my attention and focus will equally be on their coaching team, alongside them in the arena by each apparatus providing the leadership and support in the wings.  As coaches and leaders they are feeling it as much as their athletes, but when it comes to those high pressure moments, all they can do is stand by while needing to be aware of every glance and every gesture - their own as vital as their gymnasts'!

It takes self-leadership of the highest order to manage your emotions in elite sport at such events with all eyes also on you as coach!  This translates into any boardroom challenge, quality inspection visit or critical incident. So praise indeed to those leaders who prioritise leadership development that's personal alongside their professional and technical skills. I'll be watching Pegasus' coach Ionut Trandaburu, whatever the next few days brings!

Seeing yourself through the eyes of others

I was introduced to a really lovely, yet simple activity the other day. The question posed to the group when someone was asked to stand up towards the end of a training programme was:
'What word describes how you experience me?'
Each of us in turn helped to create a unique list for the individual in question.

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Mine were:
Powerful                        Wise
Trustworthy                   Professional
Honest                          Appreciative
Confident                     Entertaining
Masterful                      High Standards

The art of this exercise is to help the individual actually take the feedback on-board, given that most of us have a very different personal opinion of ourselves.

I'm loving my list and don’t mind sharing it with you.
Why not try it within your team or with colleagues?

Because Leadership - it's Personal!

The small things you hear that show progress...

When you are in leadership development as I am, you don't always get to see learning put into action first-hand.

Let me paint you a picture. I was at a group review session earlier this week with a great bunch of people. One person in the room has also been receiving individual coaching. It's not so much the detailed conversation he was having with a colleague, but his remarks that shall we say, didn't exactly put them him in the best light as a leader.

I clocked this as I walked past, although didn't even look in his direction. I knew that several months ago he would have been completely unaware of this and carried on behaving in exactly the same way.

The magic for me, was in hearing him say to me as I moved by: "I can hear your eyes rolling you know!" which apart from being a wonderful phrase in itself, made me smile because I'd just witnessed how his awareness has shifted.

Small steps are often just as important.

What changes or shifts in behaviour have you experienced lately?

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Discovering Your Leadership Blueprint: Your Reaction and Responses

As hard-wired as our principles and triggers may seem from the experiences that shape us, so too are our reactions and responses. Built over years from significant or repeat situations throughout our life, they show up day-to-day, in how others experience us at work and at home.

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Knowing how we often react and respond to specific triggers, especially when we are under pressure or experiencing stress gives us a chance to catch this reflexive cycle, because such awareness gives us choice in the moment of how we respond.

If I'm on the receiving end of someone being ill-tempered, inflexible or maybe even both, I would typically expect to feel judged and may pull back from the situation and/or the person. You could say this is a self-preservation instinct kicking in, but you can imagine it’s far from helpful in a leadership setting when challenge and behaviours can get very personal and certainly heated at a moment's notice.  

Imagine if I metaphorically, or literally withdrew each time...

How could you identify your triggered responses in challenging situations when all eyes are on you as a leader?
What would you do?

 

Discovering Your Leadership Blueprint: Your Triggers

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Alongside our life experiences, unique patterns and principles, we also each have triggers.

Our triggers are incidents or behaviours that provoke a reaction in us - and that reaction is quick and often feels instant. 
In being provoked, our reaction (the next part of our pattern) is not always helpful personally and certainly not as a leader. 
Hands up if you've ever thought: 'I wish I'd handled that differently'?

You may already know some of your triggers, while you may not be aware of others. Knowing them and working with them can be so powerful.

For me, 'choosing direction' or 'appraisal' can be a challenge, depending on the context.
If you take the latter in terms of feeling judged, as an example with social media and these blogs. What I post is all part of my brand and I think:  'What if no one reads or views what I put out there?'

On a good day, it's not a problem, I'm enjoying what I do. But if I was having a tough time, that could spark a feeling and response in me that is not helpful in my business or how I operate. Don't worry though, things are great and I'm simply sharing.

Do you know any of your triggers?

Discovering Your Leadership Blueprint: Our Principles

All of us have moments in our lives as children, teenagers, in our early careers or more recently, situations or experiences that were big and may have stopped us in our tracks. Or indeed the smaller things that happen time and again, having a compound effect.

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Sometimes these things aren’t obvious to us, we just work around them and develop our own unique ways of managing and coping with certain reactions and trigger we have. It’s only when we stop, and really start to work with our own unique patterns, that make us who we are, to open up a whole new world of self-leadership with impact. 
By breaking down these patterns we are intrigued to take a closer look.

Our Principles:

  • They drive and inspire us
  • They help us to operate at our best
  • We will be drawn to them in others
  • We will aim to demonstrate them in how we operate
  • Some of them are obvious, others maybe not be until we explore them closer

Some of mine include imagination, inspiration and movement; affability, benevolence and those who take charge. All elements which hopefully shine through in how I operate, challenge and develop leaders, as well as the reasons I do what I do!

Can you identify what some of your principles might be?

Discovering Your Leadership Blueprint: Key Moments That Have Shaped Us.

 Reflecting on key moments that shape us

Reflecting on key moments that shape us

In my last blog, I asked you to think about good and bad leaders you've had in your life.
You will be highlighting the qualities you'd like to emulate and noting how not to be.
Does that give you ‘your’ blueprint?

Let me take you back even further, to the many and varied experiences you’ve had earlier in life. From family life and things that happened, to the stories that were told about you or to you. As kids we are like sponges, we don’t miss a trick, and then there’s school and our early careers.

For example, my careers teacher, when I said I wanted to work with people, literally laughed at me, saying: “Come back when you have something serious to talk about.” 
She said this to me because it wasn’t the conventional answer about a university!  But...despite this, I'm now running my own business and getting enjoyment every day from doing what I’m great at and very proud of...developing leaders.

Can you identify key moments or stories that might have shaped you in some way?

  • Experiences that spurred you on or have driven you
  • Situations which may have had a more profound effect on you than you realised
  • Do you remember when any of them happened, how you felt or reacted?

Discovering Your Leadership Blueprint: Are You Investing In Your Leadership?

How much time have you invested in your own leadership versus professional qualification training?

  • Do you have a professional qualification for your career or industry?
  • How many years of study and development have you invested in such accreditation overall?
  • Honestly now, have you invested anywhere near as much development in yourself as a leader?
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'No' - is the resounding answer for most of us to that last question, even if we are actually navigating leadership pretty successfully.

No matter what training programmes or courses we’ve completed on leadership, we learn far more from the experience we have of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ leaders.

Who do you have in mind?
What did you learn from them?