A day in the life of Harpal Dhatt founder of Glow at Work- 24th March 2015

A day in the life of Harpal Dhatt, founder of Glow at Work, is a new weekly blog on a particular day in the week or exploration of an area of interest.

Tuesday 24th March 2015-

This was the day when I had the inspiration to start a weekly blog, capturing one of my days each week.  It was a busy day with 3 meetings, volunteering and an evening Google Hangout.  On days like these I begin the day thinking about an intention for the day.  On this day I chose to practice being present with all the people I was meeting.

My first meeting was with Eamon Tuhami, founder of an app called ‘Motivii’ that quantifies motivation at work.  I was sharing with him some of my highlights from my San Francisco and Las Vegas trip.  He asked me what was the best thing from my trip and I said I did not know there were so many things.  He pushed me to choose one.  I recalled my day in downtown Las Vegas as my most recent wow day (to be shared in a separate blog).  I visited Catalyst Events, met the CEO of the downtown project, went on a tour of Zappos and Turntable health, followed by a Design & Dine workshop.  Eamon said what are you going to do with all this information, again I was not sure.  He looks at me and see so much potential and thinks I could be doing a lot more than I am.  He gave me a well deserved push into some action.  I recall him saying “you have done enough consuming, now you need to produce.”  This sentence remained with me as something to focus on. Going forward I wanted to think each week about 3 things I am going to focus on and use a timer to work 90 minutes a day on this.  I am grateful to Eamon taking the time to challenge me and be honest with me and give me some guidance.  I last met with him early January and since this time he has produced lots of things, a prototype app and short video on the app.  Just before I met him in the toilet in the cafe I got a lot of inspiration from the pictures on the wall and wanted to take a photo.  This gave me the idea for my first idea of starting to produce.  I wanted to take 1 photo a day for a year on what inspired me and what I am grateful for. Hence #365insgrat was born and started on instagram (hdhatt1).

On my way to my next meeting reflecting on what my purpose is and what I should be doing or am doing, I checked my email and saw this message –

“ How are you? You came through my mind so thought Id drop you a line. I just wanted to thank you again for really changing my life the skills you taught on the course were beyond invaluable.”

This brought joy to me and was very nice to receive from someone on the LEAP programme I deliver in the National Health Service (NHS).  I thought yes this is one of the highlights of the work I do.  I get to enable people to make real changes in their life and this is something that is satisfying to me and gives me job satisfaction.  I want to be able to help lots more people realise their potential by delivering the LEAP programme in a lot more NHS organisations.

11024717_10153035996921141_1495648272107609927_n

My next visit was to the Canvas cafe, London’s first happy cafe.  I had arranged an impromptu meetup with Kay Gillard as part of my role as the London Liaison lead for Wisdompreneurs.  Wisdompreneurs is a global organisation of transformational leaders that are co-creating a new economy and creating vibrant lives through the power of combining wisdom with entrepreneurship.  We discussed the Facebook group for Wisdompreneurs which has 5,000 members and started about 2 years ago.  The group is a place that some people use for support in their work, to ask questions, give advice and share their offerings.  We both discussed the London meetup group and explored how to shape it going forward.  Together we created a new idea for the meetup around a monthly co-working meetup where we could be productive alone and together.   London Wisdompreneur Meetup

Rushing from this meeting to mindfully make my way to my weekly volunteering at the Terrence Higgins Charity Shop in Pimlico called ‘Boutique’.  I have been volunteering for nearly a year, once a week for half a day.   I started to do this because I had time to offer and I wanted to engage with a cross section of people and reduce my ego and develop humility.  This is one way I get to do this.  Over the time I have been there I feel like the shop offers a community to the local residents, where you see regular faces and build relationships.  In some ways I find that when you give to others, you actually end up receiving so much more.

10498595_384841935029601_976962041739695659_oAfter this I had arranged my second impromptu meeting for Wisdompreneuers with Elmar Kruithoff from Denmark who was in London on a training course on conflict.  He is founder of the Focusing Centre, where he helps people to deal with conflicts in their relationships and with themselves.  Again we discussed the Wisdompreneur Facebook group and our work, and we explored how to develop the products we offer and how to market them.  I encouraged Elmar to think about how he can maybe be a Wisdompreneur lead in Denmark and we discussed ways to use technology to stay connected and support each other.

By the time we had finished our dinner meeting it was too late for me to get home for my 8pm Wisdom 2.0 Global meditation Hangout.  So I decided it was best to find a place with good wi-fi instead so that I could participate.  I prefer to be at home and comfortable in my own space.  However, on this occasion I went to a Pret cafe in Victoria and struggled to get online to join the Hangout in time.  I made it ten minutes later and had to accept the situation and go with the flow.  Now I can say I have meditated in a Pret.  Oskar Fassler was guiding the meditation from Berlin for all of us.  I had the idea after the Wisdom 2.0 conference in Feb 2014 to start an online community where we could stay connected globally and practice together for an hour of meditation once a month.  The first Hangout was in June 2014 and there have been seven more since then.  At this Hangout we had 2 people in San Francisco, one in LA, Berlin and 2 people from England.

IMG_0325

It is lovely to be able to engage globally in this way and develop our practice together, and have confidence to guide the meditations.  The next one is on the 21st April if you want to join us Google Hangout  Afterwards some of us ended up having an informal chat about our work and it was 10pm and I was ready to go home.  What a day!  A great day.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

Reflections on Wisdom 2.0- a conference that opened my heart to connection and wisdom in the world

A year ago I was going to my first Wisdom 2.0 conference in 2014 on Valentine’s day.  I have to honestly say that this is the best conference I have attended.  2,000 people attended to come together to talk about wisdom, compassion, technology. IMG_2334 IMG_2377

At the conference you were surrounded and amongst some of the greats that started the mindfulness movement; for example Jon-Kabat Zinn, Sharon Salzberg and Krsiten Neff. At the time and while I was there people kept asking me what do you think of the conference, what have you got out of coming, will you come next year.  While I was there I was trying to be there, present in the moment.  Unable to answer these questions at the time.  I went open to what would emerge, with no real expectations.  A year later I am ready to share some of the moments that gave me great joy and sorrow.  As my favourite zen buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Han says ‘No mud, no lotus.’ During the conference I met so many people that blew me away with the work that they were doing.  Very young people developing apps to help homeless people to get food.  As a society we think of young people as being self-centred and only concerned with themselves and making money.  The connection with the people I met was a heart, to heart connection that I had not experienced before.  You meet some people on the first day and the next day they are your friend.  This is rare.  I had not met people before that were into consciousness and running their business with wisdom and compassion. On the final day we went out for lunch with a diverse group of people, some technology people, mindfulness experts, legal professionals.  During that lunch I met Justin Broglie from Philadelphia, as a group we had lunch together.  He was only 23 at the time, he achieved and did so much, he started the Penn Consciousness club at his university.  Some of us will never achieve as much as he did in his short life.  He connected deeply with me and shared wisdom with me, for that I am forever grateful as Justin is no longer with us. http://beingwithjustin.net  My only wish is I had spent longer talking with him. 1798056_10152246889641141_1107367765361770247_n After the conference I wanted to keep connected with the people I met from all over the world.  One way to do this was to use technology.  I started a google hangout in June 2014 where we could meet once a month online for an hour and guide each other in a meditation practice together.    This is a small group of people coming together as a community a sangha to share, learn and develop together from each others wisdom.  (https://plus.google.com/events/c3hs4up6eeba3v5evnm3f50rdts?authkey=CNby7bbx1-TfbA)

Just before the conference I went to the Compassion day of research at Facebook to meet Dacher Keltner a professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Greater Good Science Centre.  We talked about his work on compassion with executives and also self-compassion and leadership.  His presence and sharing of knowledge with me was AWEinspiring! IMG_2225 During the conference there was a wisdompreneur’s party I went to, Californian style with a hot tub and swimming pool in the living room, a roof terrace with beautiful views of San Francisco.  Afterwards I joined the Facebook group for wisdompreneur’s and was interested in meeting people like this is London.  I started running meetup’s in July 2014 and now am the local liaison lead for wisdompreneur’s in london.  (http://www.wisdompreneurs.com)

I am now ready and in anticipation for Wisdom 2.0 2015 and all that it will bring and looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones.  My intention is to practice being more present while I am there.  Also this year I want to make more video’s asking people about compassion and wisdom in life and work, learning more about the different ways people practice it?  How can we make it a part of our life and not an added extra?  How can we really be and find our real purpose and make deep connections with the people we meet in the digital age where we are constantly being distracted?

One way is to practice sitting still in silence, when was the last time you just sat and did nothing, focusing on your breath as if your life depended on it as Jon Kabat-Zinn often says?

See some of my short video highlights from Wisdom 2.0 2014 below-

James Doty from CCARE the most compassionate man I met at Wisdom 2.0-  Interview with Austin Hill Shaw at Wisdom 2.0-  Volunteer at Wisdom2.0 Shelly Smith from ‘living into grace’ that I gave my superwoman top away to-  IMG_2420

Suzukhi on the open mic  Oskar talking and hugging Brother David-  Meng from Google managing conflict mindfully-  Drumming at the end of the first day of the conference-

Tagged , ,

GLOW AT WORK MASTERCLASS – DEVELOPING EVIDENCE BASED SKILLS ON 21ST NOV 2013 WITH PROFESSOR ROB BRINER

Could it be that occupational psychologists (OP) draw on research evidence that is less valid and reliable than a movie review site found online?  Could consultants be promoting psychological interventions that may sound appealing, look good on paper but hold limited to zero evidence supporting validity, reliability or business impact?  Professor Rob Briner from the School of Management, University of Bath and Vice-chair of the Centre for Evidence Based Management posed these and other questions during a Glow at Work master class session on evidence-based organisational psychology.

The use of the term evidence-based emerged in the 1990s within medicine but the principle has extended across other disciplines such as education, public policy and business management.  Within business psychology, an evidence-based approach means basing management decisions through a combination of critical thinking and the most valid and relevant ‘evidence’ (information rooted not only in scientific research but also, expertise, internal business information and even personal experience).

Seems obvious, no?

In reality, not quite.

photo-2Citing examples from employee engagement to executive coaching, Rob highlighted how absence of evidence and lack of research awareness plague organisational psychology practitioner activities.

Four main problem areas were identified.

Clients may not be interested:  multiple factors sway HR practices away from an evidence-based approach.  In addition to cognitive biases and decision-making errors, senior managers are prone to ‘faddism’ or adopting business practices without a solid intellectual foundation (Donaldson & Hilmer, 1998). Internal politics also plays a role.  Do senior managers actually achieve their status within an organisation because of accuracy and findings or because of action and speed?  Is political clout valued more than a rigorous scientific approach?  In many cases the answer is most likely yes.

Don’t trust the Academics:  they have extensive vested interests, are inevitably biased and in reality hold limited knowledge.  A survey of US based business school academics asked respondents whether they knew of faculty engaging in different types of academic misconduct – affirmative answers ranged from 50%-90% depending on misconduct behaviour cited (Bedeian et al., 2010).   And if that wasn’t enough, many academics engage in dubious scientific practice and behaviour (Kepes & McDaniel, 2013).

Some other interesting highlights include:

  • Academics can’t really agree on much:  a 24 item questionnaire survey of 75 OP professors asked that participants indicate where they saw good evidence supporting fundamental findings in organizational psychology – this yielded only 75%+ participant agreement on seven questions (Guest & Zijlstra, 2012)
  • Publishing only positive findings:  negative research results tend not to get published.  In addition, the percentage of hypothesis supporting articles published in journals has risen from approximately 70% to 85% in the period 1990 to 2007 (Fanelli, 2012)
  • HARKing or creating hypotheses after results are known.  Doing science backwards or developing hypothesis after some preliminary analysis in order to ensure alignment with results
  • Null Hypothesis Significance Testing:  Does failure to reject the null hypothesis really mean the null hypothesis is supported? And does a so-called statistically significant finding support the alternative hypothesis?  Why are .01 and .05 drawn as arbitrary lines of significance and therefore of interest?  And what about the issue of a large enough sample size delivering an inevitably significant result?

A lack of systematic reviews:  the aim of a systematic review is to identify all relevant studies on a specific topic and to select appropriate studies based on explicit criteria. These studies are then assessed to ascertain their internal validity.  Unfortunately, we just don’t have many of these reviews in management science or organisational psychology.

Teaching practices are not evidence based (Goodman & O’Brien, 2012): indeed the focus of teaching in most business and OP settings is on student satisfaction.

Rob challenged us to consider what impact on people and organisations our professional practice actually has, and what impact we want it to have.  Rob emphasised that evidence-based practice was a long-term professional commitment that implied being prepared to give up on cherished beliefs.  It would also mean finding clients who would be prepared to accept such an approach and in practice this might mean turning away assignments with organisations not prepared to do so.

In adopting evidence-based practice, Rob suggested making decisions that were conscientious, explicit, judicious and based on different information sources.  Four types of information were suggested for consideration:

  • Evaluated external evidence:  what does systematically reviewed evidence suggest?  What effective interventions feature in the research?  Are they relevant?
  • Practitioner experiences and judgements:  have you seen the problem before?  What are your hunches?  What has worked in the past and how is this situation different?
  • Local context evidence:  what is happening and how do managers perceive it?  What do they think about it?  How do managers view the costs/benefits of a potential intervention?
  • Stakeholders:  the perspectives of those who may be affected by the intervention.  How do they feel? What upside or downside do they see with the proposed plan of action?

Overall, a very entertaining and informative talk that highlighted why nothing should be taken for granted and that a rigorous evidence-based approach can help support better decision-making and management practice.

Michael Webster – mjw_london@yahoo.co.uk

References-

Quite interesting journal produced by SIOP – http://www.siop.org/journal/siopjournal.aspx
The good but depressing book about consumerism and higher education – http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199660940.do
Center for Evidence-Based Management website http://www.cebma.org/
 Any questions for Rob you can email him at Rob Briner- rbb25@management.bath.ac.uk
The next Glow at Work event is January the17th on Self-Compassion in Leadership– An introductory workshop
Tagged , , , ,

GLOW AT WORK MASTERCLASS – POLITICAL ASTUTENESS IN LEADERSHIP ON 24TH OCT 2013 WITH PROFESSOR CLIVE FLETCHER

Glow at Work was delighted to host a masterclass on Political Astuteness in leadership with Professor Clive Fletcher of Occupational Psychology at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, where he still holds the title of Emeritus Professor after leaving to work in in private practice.   Clive is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and one of the relatively few psychologists to be elected to Fellowship of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Fellowship of The Royal Society of Medicine. He is formerly chair of the occupational psychology section of the BPS. Clive has published extensively on psychological assessment in work settings. He is author of a standard text on Performance Appraisal and on Psychological Testing.

The aim of the masterclass was to give participants an understanding on how thinking of political astuteness in organisational leadership has developed over recent years.  Clive spoke about the need for political astuteness in leadership development-

Greater priority needs to be given to developing leaders with the capacity to manage the political dimension. They need an ability to see and communicate the big picture, make connections, be credible with different groups and broker relevant political and strategic relationships.”  (Charlesworth et al, 2003)

Are politicians born geniuses or are they just trained to be leaders? This question remains a source of debate, although the dominant school of thought would support the latter. Political Astuteness provides evidence for this view.  Moreover, Political Astuteness actually provides leaders in organisations with the skills that they need, as well as helping them to improve those skills in their daily leadership. However, what are the qualities that a fine leader truly needs?

The Framework for Political Astuteness

Political Astuteness highlights five different skills that a good leader should possess:

  1. Personal Skills. This relates to self-awareness of one’s own motives and behaviours and the ability to exercise self-control. It also pertains to being open to others’ opinions and being proactive, initiating action as opposed to waiting for things to happen.
  2. Interpersonal Skills. These are often ‘soft’ skills, as they denote the ability of the leader to negotiate, cope with pressure from others and handle conflict in a manner that is likely to achieve the most productive outcome. These skills also signify a capability to influence the thinking and behaviour of others through getting others’ buy-in and making them feel valued.
  3. Reading People and Situations. This requires leaders to have strong analytical skills and the ability to recognise the wider dynamics, interests, processes, systems and agendas of people and their organisations.
  4. Building Alignment and Alliances. This denotes the ability to recognise and work with difference and conflicts of interest in order to forge new opportunities as well as collaborative action. It is distinct from consensus-building as it relates more to integrating differences as opposed to minimising them.
  5. Strategic Direction and Scanning. The two major components that make up this skill are, firstly, having a long-term vision for the organisation and, secondly, foreseeing the longer-term issues which could potentially have an impact on the organisation. In essence, this skill relates to long-term strategic aims and threats. In other words, it is a specific domain of leadership – Leading with Vision.

photo-2

The Political Astuteness in Leadership Questionnaire is designed to be a development questionnaire enabling an individual to rate their Political Astuteness through self-assessment. It is not only a tool used by individuals and leaders to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in a leadership and management context, but also serves as a guide on how to perform as effective leaders in political situations in organisations. Exercising these skills in real life is essential, as the way to develop and improve leadership skills is through modelling, shadowing, and mentoring. It is completely experience-oriented.

In sum, Political Astuteness requires several qualities as a leader: knowing yourself as well as others, having a clear vision of a long-term plan, paying attention to details to recognise the dynamic around you, and leading the team with purpose and determination. It does not seek to separate different types of leadership, but integrate these differences so as to develop an outstanding, well-rounded leader.

Furthermore, Political Astuteness also indicates four domains of strength a leader should have: Leading to Deliver, Leading through People, Leading with Drive, and  Leading with Vision.

Four Domains of Leadership

The idea of the four domains derives from Lumina Leader, a psychometric developed by Lumina Learning, in which we can clearly see the four leadership domains in Political Astuteness:

  1. Leading to Deliver. A leader must know how to remain calm under pressure. They need to be self-aware, pay close attention to the data and evidence, and follow through on a detailed plan.
  2. Leading through People. This is an interpersonal skill that denotes building rapport with people at different levels of an organisation, and empowering them with integrity and trust so as to achieve a win-win situation.
  3. Leading with Drive. This relates to providing members of the organisation with clear direction and leading with energy and determination. It also signifies a desire to lead them to ever higher levels of excellence.
  4. Leading with Vision. The willingness to gain a wider knowledge of institutions, political processes and social systems, as well as inspiring and leading others through vision and long-term strategic thinking.

Leadership is never an easy concept to explain and the skills and competencies it requires are never simply tasks to achieve. Continually striving to develop and improve qualities in different domains is vital. This is the case not merely at a personal level in terms of the benefits of greater individual self-awareness, but also given that it can lead to dramatically improved productivity and efficiency across the organisation as a whole. In essence, through transforming leaders, one can transform organisations.

Feedback on the masterclass from some attendees:

–  “thank you once more for a wonderful event. Topical subject of growing importance with a growing Occupational and Organisational Psychology evidence base, great speaker and facilitator, and great hosting and organisation.” David Beech

– “thanks for arranging an awesome evening this Thursday.” Michael Webster

The next Glow at Work masterclass is with Professor Rob Briner on ‘Developing Evidence Based Skills’, on the 21st November from 6-9pm at the Queens Club, London.  To book your place go to http://www.meetup.com/Glow-at-Work-Masterclasses/events/115742012/

Lulu Tang  – Intern at Lumina Learning LuluTang@luminalearning.com

Image

References-

Charlesworth, K., Cook, P. & Crozier, G. (2003) Leading change in the Public Sector: Making the difference. London: CMI. Advisory Panel chaired by Sir Michael Bichard.

Hartley, J., and Fletcher, C. (2008). Leading with Political Awareness: Leadership across diverse interests inside and outside the organization. In Leadership Perspectives: Knowledge into Action Eds. K T James & J Collins. London: Palgrave

Hartley, J., Fletcher, C., Wilton, P., Woodman, P., & Ungemach, C. (2007) Leading with Political Awareness: Developing Leaders Skills to Manage the Political Dimension Across All Sectors. Chartered Management Institute: London

http://www.managers.org.uk/sites/default/files/u35639/CMI%20LWPA%20Exececutive%20Summary.pdf

Tagged , , ,

Glow at Work Masterclass – Sustaining Engagement at Work on 20th JUNE 2013 with Emma Donaldson-Feilder

Being an occupational psychology (OP) Master’s student, Harpal’s Masterclasses were among the highlights of this year. I really enjoyed the different topics the masterclasses offered and the fact that these topics were delivered by experts.  I also managed to network at the masterclasses with some fantastic people from the field and beyond.

Once again, inspiring Harpal has organised a fantastic masterclass, which was delivered by Emma Donaldson-Feilder, a renowned researcher and practitioner Occupational Psychologist who specialises in wellbeing and health at work, she is also a director of Affinity Health at Work and a coaching psychologist (I have been secretly looking forward to meeting Emma for months, at last it happened!).

Emma’s masterclass was about sustaining employee engagement at work. She started by generating discussions about what engagement meant to us, which resulted in plenty of suggestions, Emma then gave us her comprehensive definition, which congregated almost all the suggestions! Emma suggested that employee engagement has three components: thinking, feeling, and acting. Thinking referred to employees focusing on what they do, feeling referred to employees feeling good about themself in their role and the organisation, and acting referred to employees acting in a way that shows commitment to the organisational values and objectives.

Picture 2 copy

Emma then went on to give us some remarkable findings from her research on sustainable engagement, while keeping the session very interactive.  First of them was that engagement alone was not enough! Engagement teamed with wellbeing resulted in sustainable employee engagement and productivity. The second finding was the important role of managers in employee wellbeing and engagement. To illustrate this point, Emma sparked discussions about examples of managers from our work experiences and how effective they were in the three dimension of engagement, And whether those behaviours helped with stress levels too. We then learned that 5 Manager competencies were vital for sustaining employee engagement;

(a) fairness and consistency,

(b) conflict and problem handling,

(c) knowledge, clarity and guidance,

(d) building and sustaining relationships,

(e) supporting development.

These findings have implications for managers, employers, and public policy.  Managers need to identify which of those behaviours they already have and which they need to develop. Employers need to support managers to develop those competencies through for example, learning and development with upward feedback.  Implications for public policy included the promotion of sustainable engagement by the ‘Engage for success’ movement, and the possibility of bringing sustainable engagement into skills policy and management training. She also gave us a glimpse of exciting future research affinity at work had planned on the subject starting in September this year.

Emma’s sustainable engagement masterclass was refreshing! I recently attended three employee engagement workshops by three different international OP consultancies, all of them said that they advise their clients to sustain engagement through conducting engagement surveys once every 12 months. It is obvious that sustaining engagement through developing manager competencies is at least more cost effective, than costly and time consuming engagement surveys once a year!

Thank you Emma and Harpal for a lovely thought provoking evening!

siham-bentaleb

 

 

 

 

Siham Bentaleb

 

More information:

http://www.affinityhealthatwork.co.uk/about-us/emma-donaldson-feilder/

Preventing Stress in Organizations:  How to Develop Positive Managers-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Preventing-Stress-Organizations-Positive-Managers/dp/047066553X

Engage for Success –

http://www.engageforsuccess.org

Tagged , , , ,

Lean-In by Sheryl Sandberg-Apprehensively Approached

Glow at Work invited Elisa Harca, global client partner/regional director at Red Ant to be our guest blogger this month.  She shares her personal experiences on the new book ‘Lean-In’ written by Sheryl Sandberg , Chief Operating Officer at Facebook.

As a young-ish female, who is ambitious, but not cut-throat; who likes to feel she can be oneself in the ‘work’ environment and not be forced to morph into an alpha-female, come sudo-male; but is also not what I would have deemed a feminist, I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book with apprehension.

But, as a curious person, I was most certainly intrigued. The amount of press about the book, made it impossible for me to avoid. But, had it not been bought as a gift for me, I am not sure I would have taken the plunge. Sheryl undoubtedly is an uber-smart woman who has absolutely ‘made-it’ (a few times over), but having read an article about her in Stylist Magazine, where she talked about it being ‘ok to cry at work’ I must admit, I was a bit sceptical as to whether Sheryl and I would be on the same page. You see, I feel that there are certain emotions that you need to keep under wraps in the office, and crying is one of them. This probably makes me sound heartless, but as a highly emotional person, believe me it’s not. I feel that unless there has been a family crisis, something that really breaks your heart, you should be able to control the crying and at least take it behind closed doors (a bathroom, go for a walk ….). I feel quite strongly about this, and having worked in high-pressured advertising agencies for the most part of my career, I know it’s possible. Crying for me at work immediately creates a negative environment for the person crying and the person witnessing. It’s not fair for the crier, to make the witness’s day unbalanced. Believe me I have cried many times about work (even in a Pilates class which was beyond embarrassing), but I have only cried in the office, in front of colleagues when my cousin committed suicide.

sheryl-sandberg-cover

Anyway, I tell you this story as I wanted to give you context of how I approached Sheryl’s book. It was with apprehension about our value commonality. And, as a regular reader of personal development, self-help, business books, I was a bit jaded about reading another book, that looks good on the cover, but leaves you feeling empty at the end (I won’t name any here, but frustratingly, there are far too many).

So, for me, I was delighted that as soon as I started reading Sherly’s book, I couldn’t put it down and consumed it within two days (which for me was pretty impressive as I was in the middle of a huge move from London to Hong Kong by way of Shanghai, moving seven years of stuff, plus a boyfriend and leaving behind amazing family and friends, to embark on a new career and life journey).

The reason I was able to read Sherly’s book so quickly was that I found it straight-forward; it was like having a chat with her over tea. There is no superfluous content that makes you need to skip a chapter forward. The way it’s written, anecdotally makes it accessible, believable and useful. The key take away’s for me are:

  • Push aside that inferiority complex – annoyingly us ladies tend to have a pre-disposition to doubting our ability, whereas alpha-men tend to have the opposite (I distinguish alpha-men here from other men as I know a lot of super smart men, who possess this stifling trait, and they tend to lean-out this way). This lack of self-belief can hold us back unduly, but we can use it to our advantage, as Sheryl has done in her career. She has used her curiosity and determination to ‘go-for-it’. It’s like the age old tale, if you want the role act the role. You need to make employers, employees, colleagues and the like believe you can do it, work hard at it, and although you may come across challenges, the odds are you will make it work. Let’s stop saying ‘well I can’t do 30% of the role, so I won’t go for it’ and instead say ‘well I can do 70% of the role and go for it’.
  • Don’t feel you have to conform to expectations – more than men woman are judged. Kids, no kids, married not married, male-like, cunning etc. I like the way Sheryl has always been open to challenging perceptions. Yes, she has had kids, but she has found a way to maintain her career not by being super woman, but by reassigning the way to make it work in partnership, with her husband. The way she describes the role responsibilities is more like a job share, where you look at your collective goal as two people and work out how to make it work best, for all. For me, my job tends to take the lead over my partners, and as we get older and ‘more successful’ I think we have both found this challenging as we have been thinking about ‘me’ not ‘we’. Sheryl’s book has made us readdress this thinking, and work more as a team.
  • Standing strong as women, together – I’ve always been slightly cautious of people that deem themselves feminist as I felt it was unnecessary in this day and age to intentionally segregate ourselves as women. But, it seems that women of power, like Sheryl and like the women who took part in the Woman of the World (WOW) event in London earlier this year, are redefining feminism as something that is supportive vs. divisive (men are even behind it!). And, I now realise, this is what I have been doing since I was a child, just not knowing it. It’s simple actions that Sheryl describes that I truly believe in and do innately. For example, if I meet women who are highly able, successful, I openly praise them and admire them vs. labelling them as the proverbial devil. I find women who make things happen inspiring to be around personally and professionally, and I loathe other woman who make these women that lean-in, feel alienated. We should support one another, and, instead of envy have admiration. I have worked with a few too many females, who are smart and successful, and when they lose this camaraderie, they pretty soon make enemies not allies and I think ultimately lose their positions of power, and most importantly lose friends.  So, I still wouldn’t call myself a feminist (I just don’t like labels, hence why I am not married, but had the same partner for 17 years), but I definitely am a woman of women power! But, ladies, let’s not forget we have to support the guys too, especially as a manager, a mixed sex team is not only beneficial but necessary. And, boys, I think it’s worthwhile you read this for yourselves or for the women in your lives.

Having read Sheryl’s book, I now know we share similar values, and should I have the opportunity to meet her, I have no-doubt I’d learn a lot (especially when it comes to time management – wow!). And, just to take it back to the initial barrier, her acceptance of crying in the work place, through the book, I think she shows balance especially the way she talks about people looking for help and support via mentorship. It’s clear that Sheryl is very generous with her time, and gives recognition where recognition is due, but she is also no walk over, her whole premise is, if you want something, show some initiative and don’t expect someone, like a mentor, to wave a magic wand and deliver your dreams to you. You need to have some guts and gumption and LEAN-IN! I support that concept whole heartedly, but still say, leave the crying outside.

Follow me on twitter @harcagypsy

Elisa

Tagged , , ,

GLOW AT WORK MASTERCLASS- IDENTIFYING AND DEVELOPING ENTREPRENEURIAL POTENTIAL AT WORK- DR TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC – 23rd May 2013

This happened to be yet another insightful, inspirational and innovative evening organised by Harpal Dhatt, CEO of the Glow at Work in the Queens Tennis Club in London on 23rd May 2013.

Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at the University College London (UCL), Vice President of Research & Innovation at Hogan Assessments, a visiting Professor at New York University, author of many books and scientific papers and a world authority in personality profiling and psychometric testing, was an invited speaker to deliver the Masterclass on the theme of ‘Identifying & Developing Entrepreneurial Potential at Work.’

IMG_2631

At the onset of the event, the message came loud and clear: Entrepreneurship Matters!  We were persuaded by Tomas’s excellent presentation skills that entrepreneurship is the major source of employment, growth and progress, as every successful organisation was once a new venture.  His claim was that the best way to break into a business is to innovate by offering new products or services.

Tomas, also renowned for his successful consultancy work, posed some interesting questions for a debate: What drives entrepreneurial success?  Are there any tools to quantify entrepreneurial talent?  The mini-quiz followed on the line – how much environmental factors, chance or personal factors influence entrepreneurial capacity.  This gave an opportunity to the participants to voice their views and to ask some intellectually stimulating questions.

Tomas successfully ‘planted the seed’ – bad leadership is a major cause of entrepreneurship as there is a lack of value for employees’ creativity or fostering innovation. The healthy debate opened up some new avenues of thinking about the concept of leadership in general and the process of disengagement which might force entrepreneurial talent out of an organisation.

Tomas also offered glimpses of the global outlook on the process of entrepreneurship by stating that Europe does not produce enough innovative companies.  He then moved to passionately discuss the ins and outs of entrepreneurial talent, considered as the ability to create value and stimulate growth and progress via innovation.  This is successfully achieved by shifting resources from low to high productivity areas in order to exploit opportunities.  According to him, the DNA of entrepreneurial talent consists of creativity (generating ideas), opportunism (identifying gaps), proactivity (acting with drive) and vision (having meaningful mission).

The personality profile of talented entrepreneurs is based on openness – being curious and flexible, conscientiousness – being driven and persistent, extraverted – being outgoing, dominant and optimistic, agreeable – being warm and friendly and non anxiousbeing secure, stable and cool-headed.  Research has shown that there is no correlation between IQ and entrepreneurship but there is with EQ.

The final part of this truly engaging evening due to Tomas’s charismatic presentation, was the introduction of his newly developed psychometrics tool – META (Measuring Entrepreneurial Potential – Talent and Abilities).  We were pleased to find out that this tool can find its application on an individual, but also team level (based on similar values and complementary styles) in order to identify, manage and retain entrepreneurial talent.  However, it can be applied in a broader context as well, by looking into how to foster an entrepreneurial culture.  According to Tomas, this can be successfully achieved by boosting innovation, tolerating failure, promoting an opportunistic mind set and looking for vision.

IMG_2660His talk definitely stirred everyone’s thinking towards identifying and fostering entrepreneurship in order to out-perform competitors of organisations and provided food for thought by considering if there is a natural entrepreneur in ANY organisation.

As an added bonus to this truly exciting event, the participants had a chance to complete the Meta psychometric tool (http://www.metaprofiling.com/meta-profiling.aspx), designed to identify their creative and entrepreneurial potential.

While the Curtain went down for this memorable event, some of the participants continued the debate on this hot topic in the nearby pub ‘Curtain’s Up’.

Luckily, not very long left until the next Glow at Work event on the 20th June on ‘Sustaining Engagement at work’ with Emma Donaldson- Feilder http://www.meetup.com/Glow-at-Work-Masterclasses/events/115740382/

This is some of the video footage from last weeks masterclass:

Zorica Patel CPsychol, MSc, PGCHE, BSc (Hons), BA (Hons)

Chartered Occupational and Registered Coaching Psychologist

Senior Lecturer in the HRM Department, Westminster Business School

Tagged , , , ,

GLOW AT WORK MASTERCLASS- CULTIVATING PERSONAL WELLBEING & RESILIENCE- NEAL GETHING – 25TH APRIL 2013

I recently learned about Glow at Work through LinkedIn. I contacted the chief executive, Harpal and was kindly invited to the Glow at Work masterclass given by Neal Gething on “Cultivating Personal Wellbeing and Resilience.” During the masterclass, Neal informed us that he wasn’t going to be talking about wellbeing; however, we spent a fascinating two hours learning about resilience.

As an aspiring Occupational Psychologist I had read briefly about resilience, but I hadn’t researched it in detail nor had I had any academic teaching on it.  Neal was a great speaker; he was engaging, informative and welcomed questions or comments. My favourite definition of resilience that Neal gave was that it is the ability to bounce or spring back into position. In particular, Neal highlighted the fact that it wasn’t just springing back but springing back into position.

photo 4

One of the particularly enjoyable parts of the masterclass was the practical exercise that we all did. We were asked to describe on paper, a challenging interaction, which could be in the past or present. Neal emphasised that resilience takes place in the context of a relationship but this can be a relationship with anything, e.g. your body. Neal then guided us through a series of questions about the interaction, culminating in us finding an alternative ego-state or way of thinking. Most people seemed to benefit from doing the exercise, even if the outcome in the past wasn’t the desired one or if the situation was currently ongoing and therefore not resolved. I found this exercise encouraging and the general consensus seemed to be that the exercise was helpful. It appeared it was beneficial to be able to put the particular situation onto paper.

The masterclasses take place in The Queen’s Club, which is picturesque and a lovely setting. The atmosphere was very welcoming and friendly. It was really easy to network and I look forward to attending another one.

photo

I think if I was only able to remember one thing from the masterclass it would be to remember that resilience is choosing who you want to be in a situation, and that if you don’t choose who you want to be in a situation then the unconscious will choose for you. I found this idea of choosing who I wanted to be in a situation rather empowering, so I left feeling both enlightened and empowered. Perhaps it was this feeling that made me decide to go for a beverage with Harpal and some others after the masterclass….

Thank you Harpal and Neal for such a great first masterclass.  The next masterclass is with Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on ‘Identifying & Developing Entrepreneurial Potential at Work on the 23rd May 6-9pm  http://www.meetup.com/Glow-at-Work-Masterclasses/events/115740162/

Kate Godfree

kategodfree@gmail.com

kate-godfree

Tagged , ,

What is mindfulness? And why more people are becoming interested in this practice – my mindful March experience

g055-tnh-mindfulness-is-a-source-of-happiness-09_largeIn the last couple of weeks, I have been practicing mindfulness during my daily life. I have been recently attending a weekly mindfulness group in Richmond, which has encouraged me to practice mindfulness during the two hour group meeting and in between the meetings.  They say when you set an intention and focus on a particular area, you become surrounded by information in that area.  This is certainly true in my case for mindfulness.  Glow at work ran a masterclass on Mindfulness at Work with Gary Born, where we gave some people an opportunity to practice mindfulness for the first time and explore ways to apply mindfulness to the workplace.  In the weekly mindfulness group I have been attending, the number of people interested in attending has doubled, which has resulted in another group being set up in Twickenham.  There definitely is more information out there for the general public on mindfulness and its application’s are being seen in Government, Schools, Prisons, Workplaces and Healthcare settings.  My week ended with a mindful birthday dinner with Maneesh who I connected with at the first Mindfulness at Work conference and Shamash who has written the Mindfulness for Dummies book; the applications are endless.

Jon Kabat-Zinn was in London and I was really excited to see him, with approximately a 1,000 other people.  The queue outside Friends House was similar to a concert queue, everybody eager to hear Jon speak about Mindfulness.  The evening with Jon Kabat-Zinn was sponsored by Action for Happiness.  Baron Layard shared that he recently took the first mindfulness course for parliamentarians from the Oxford Centre for Mindfulness.

Jon is famous for bringing mindfulness in a non-secular form, from the east to the west 30 years ago.  His definition of mindfulness is regularly quoted:

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;

On purpose,

in the present moment, and

non-judgmentally.”

The setting was Friends House in London Euston, where all the chairs face each other and famous people like Gandhi have also spoken.  Jon wanted the evening to be about communication and connection. He said mindfulness has the potential to move the bell curve of world wellbeing. It allows us to have a wise relationship with suffering and happiness in the world.  Suffering and happiness are a part of life and mindfulness helps us to acknowledge and accept this.  Mindfulness gives us the tools, for example the focus on our breath, which we carry  everywhere we go and we can learn to use more consciously.  It grounds us into our present reality and gives us regular opportunities to practise mindfulness.  He said it is a muscle that cannot grow without a certain amount of resistance.  It involves a certain  amount of discipline and hard work.  The beauty is that we can use anything that arises in our lives to grow these muscles and allow it to shape and develop us.  It is important to recognise that it involves daily practice, similar to how we eat , brush our teeth and shower each and every day.  We can even use these daily activities to practice, it is as simple as saying to yourself I am eating, thinking about the process of eating, I am brushing my teeth, I am in the shower (your mind may have wandered to already being at work).  These daily mundane activities, can easily reconnect and train our minds to check in and practice mindfulness.

When you look at people meditating you may think they are wasting their time doing nothing when there are so many useful things they could be doing.  In reality it is a process of ‘non-doing’ (waking up, being present, not trying to get anywhere) that can help us in so many ways with our health and wellbeing.  In the last decade there have been 1,000’s of studies demonstrating the science behind the positive changes that occur in our brains when we meditate. For example, neuroscience findings show us the benefits of mindfulness for focus and concentration.  A lack of focus and concentration can really undermine your work performance.  Practicing mindfulness can improve your focus and concentration, even when in a busy or stressful environment.

  • Research into mindfulness in a work context suggests that mindfulness widens your attentional breadth, allowing you to be aware of a lot of things simultaneously (Dane, E, 2010).
  • A recent study conducted in the US Marine Crops investigated the impact of mindfulness training on working memory capacity.  The study suggests that mindfulness training may improve working memory in a stressful environment (Jha Ap et al, 2010).
  • Researchers at Harvard used MRI scans to look at the brains of people who had practised mindfulness meditation for many years, and found that areas of the brain associated with attention and sensory processing were thicker than in people who had never meditated. (Lazar S et al, 2005).

In all Asian languages the word for mind and heart is the same, the chinese character for ‘mindfulness’ combines the ideograms for presence and heart.  In the west we separate the two words and worlds.  The eastern definition is about attention, that you can call affectionate attention.

breathelrg

Jon came to mindfulness at 22; “Wow this is what I have been looking for my whole life. It’s a way of being, a technique, that involves practice and cultivation.”

He shared his daily practice with us, this involves taking his seat early in the morning,  to check in and cultivate the seeds for the day. He see’s it as a radical act of love not just a discipline. It is a time for ‘being’ and not ‘doing’. We live in a world of to do lists that are endless. And mindfulness helps us to stop and take a moment to get away from this never ending treadmill of actions and tasks, to focus on who we really are, providing insight to work on what is really important to us as human beings.

Endless words of wisdom from Jon on mindfulness:

– It’s a radical act of love and self compassion.

– It is much about nothing but it is just about everything.

– The thinking mind cannot understand it.

– You can turn the sound down and watch the thoughts – become transparent to your thoughts, they come and they go, like weather patterns

– You’re perfect already – when did you thank your liver for what’s it’s doing right now?

– There are many things we have to live to learn with.

– Do not take things personally, there is very little that is personal.

– Happiness and sorrow go together – they are intimately related and how the heart and mind are related.

photoThe best reason he says to meditate is that you feel integrated, we call ourselves human beings and we act more like human doings. If you want to create anxiety, just think about your emails or constant connection with your smartphone.  Maybe we need to apply this connection or obsession we have with being connected to the external world (I struggle without WiFi) to how we connect with ourselves, like GPS for the soul, how regularly do you check in with yourself?  Say where am I? Who am I with?  Am I paying attention? Is my breathing relaxed or stressed?  Just noticing your surroundings.

I will end with closing words from Jon: “Live life as if it really matters. Real meditation is how you live your life, moment to moment with huge self compassion.”

Written by Harpal Dhatt, CEO & Occupational Psychologist  @Glowatwork

More information on the science of mindfulness-

– The science is showing us when we mediate, we are becoming more compassionate and it is changing the structure of our brains.  There are 600 research studies into mindfulness on the mindfulnet website http://www.mindfulnet.org/page4.htm#RMINDFULNESS, they have also produced a business case for mindfulness document.  Mindfulness in the workplace case studies can also be viewed on the Mindfulnet website http://www.mindfulnet.org/page9.htm

– John Teasdale, the founder of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, has done a lot of work on how mindfulness transforms suffering. There is 1000’s of years of wisdom behind mindfulness, you do not have to be a Buddhist to do this. The Buddha was not even a Buddhist, it is a European term. It’s a practise open to all.

References

Action for Happiness-  http://www.actionforhappiness.org/about-us/an-evening-with-jon-kabat-zinn (watch video of an evening with Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Business case for mindfulness in the workplace http://www.mindfulnet.org/page35.htm

Dane, E. (2010)  Paying attention to mindfulness and its effect on task performance in the workplace.  Journal of Management.

Davidson, R, Kabat-Zinn, J et al (2003).  Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation.

Jha Ap, Stanley EA, Kiyonaga A, Wong L, Gelfand, L. (2010)  Examining the protcetive effects of mindfulness training on working memory capacity and affective experience.  Emption 2010.

Hunter, J & McCormick, D (2008).  “Mindfulness in the Workplace:  An Exploratory Study”  Paper presented at the meeting of the 2008 Academy of Management Annual Meeting.  Anaheim, CA.

Lazer S et al. (2005) ‘Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness’, Neuroreport 16 (17): 1893- 97

‘Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge Based Society’: Understanding and Responding to Societal Demands on Corporate Responsibility (RESPONSE)

Tagged , , , ,

Glow at Work Masterclass- Mindfulness at Work- Gary Born – 21st March 2013

Gary Born’s ‘Mindfulness in the Workplace’ session was truly fantastic for three reasons. Firstly, the session did not involve bells, bare feet, sitting on the floor, or unknown and unexplained words (really make us feel like outsiders). While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the above, it’s exactly these more ‘exotic’ elements of mindfulness and meditation that can be off-putting or alienating for some of us. Indeed – as a woman from the workplace, being asked to sit cross-legged while wearing stockings and a skirt can create immediate embarrassment and awkwardness! Gary’s practical approach reminded us all that practising mindfulness can actually be integrated into our daily lives very naturally.
photo
Secondly, the session involved several actual practices of mindfulness exercises. I felt more calm, present and centred after these. In fact – the real point of this focus on the breath hit me. Why the breath? Why are meditation and mindfulness exercises always talking about ‘the breath’? Well – the way I understand it is that that the breath is always there. The fact that it is always there is rather calming. It’s a constant presence in every minute of our lives. In fact, taking this a little further – we are always here. Odd as that sounds (!) – how often are we so involved in the emails on our screens, the PowerPoint slide we are battling with, and the voices of others all around us, that we forget that we are here, too? We are often ignored, avoided or simply de-prioritised in the busyness of life and work. Mindfulness, as I understand it, is about remembering that we are here, and that being aware of ourselves is valuable. In this way, we can develop greater self-awareness – a benefit to ourselves and others.

Thirdly, Gary showed us how mindfulness has really reached the consciousness of the western world in the last decade or so. Since the start of this century, research into mindfulness has increased exponentially, mindfulness-based therapies are now available on the NHS, and mainstream media have featured it frequently. Far from being something remote and exotic, mindfulness is becoming much more common, understood, and valued. This brings to mind two big messages for me. Firstly – how wonderful that mindfulness is now more commonly understood and accepted, with all that it can offer individuals and workplaces. Secondly – what other ideas, philosophies and approaches are we currently aware of but hiding for fear that they are ‘remote and exotic’? What value could those ideas bring to individuals and the workplace? In another decade, the world will have moved forward either way. We can take heart from the story of mindfulness; there are many valuable ideas yet to be brought to light. We just need the courage and awareness of them to do so. Mindfulness seems like a good place to start…

photo-1

Thank you to Gary and Harpal for a fantastic session!

Lisa Pobereskin – lisa_pobereskin@hotmail.com

Lisa Pobereskin

Organisational Psychology MSc student at City University, Intern at Thompson Dunn, Business Psychology Consultancy

References & Further reading from the masterclass:

• Organisations that offer Mindfulness Training:

  • Oxford Mindfulness Centre – http://oxfordmindfulness.org
  • Mindfulness Works- http://www.mindfulness-works.com
  • Mindfulnet- http://www.mindfulnet.org
  • Workplace Prosperity- http://workplaceprosperity.com
  • The Mental Health Foundation- http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/podcasts/ – http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/training/be-mindful-online-mindfulness-course/ – http://bemindful.co.uk

• Books, articles and videos

  • Michael Chaskalson, The Mindful Workplace: Developing Resilient Individuals and Resonant Organizations with MBSR
  • Mark Williams and Danny Penman , Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World
  • Chade-Meng Tan, Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever you go, there you are
  • “Mindfulness,  Meditation,  Wellness  and  Their  Connection  to  Corporate   America’s  Bottom  Line”,  Huffington  Post,    18th  March  2013
  • Wisdom 2.0 (2012 videos): http://www.wisdom2summit.com/Videos
Tagged , , , ,