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Meetings. To speak or not to speak? And if so, how?

"In meetings, you sometimes say things that don't need to be said."

The day I received that feedback was a big turning point for me. I made a decision to be more aware of my motives for speaking: Was it mainly about justification (of my presence in the meeting, or even the team), or was it mainly about contribution (to the greater good of all concerned)? Every time I could see it was primarily about justification, I chose to remain silent until I could find a better way to make a real contribution.

This practice is good for all of us but it seems women have some additional challenges.

I've just read an interesting article published this year by Flynn Heath Holt Leadership in the USA called "Why Meetings Matter Even More for Women"

To Influence People, First Meet Them Where They Are!

As I walked through the door one evening, I was greeted by Jane (my wife) and Matthew (my 10 year old son). They wanted to tell me about a slightly awkward moment for Matthew at school that they felt was caused by his teacher being a bit careless.

The teacher had become aware that Matthew was having some tutoring with a former teacher from the school and allowed this fact to known by the class.

I personally didn't think that this would be seen as a big issue by anyone, but Jane and Matthew were concerned.

Baby Boomer Time Bomb = Opportunity for Emerging Leaders

An article in the Business Recruitment Section of the Evening Standard on Tuesday highlights the rapid demographic shift as more baby boomers head towards retirement age. There is a danger and opportunity associated with this.

Francois Moscovici, an expert in retaining talent in business, points out that we are heading towards a shortage of 30 - 44 year olds. As more senior people start to retire or scale back their hours, the next generation of leaders will need to step up quite quickly. In many cases, they will be managing people older than themselves. This can lead to conflict as the younger leader is typically more ambitious and driven. Moscovici points out that will be essential that they acquire coaching and influencing skills to be effective.

Be Aware of the Arena

Last weekend, my youngest son had his 10th birthday. He said he had a great weekend, except for one thing...

The "good" things included receiving some great presents, opening his own bank account with £1000 contribution from his grandparents, having a friend over to stay, playing football and on the X-box, and on Sunday, going go-karting and visiting friends. Oh, and his favourite team (Liverpool) beat Manchester United!

The Forces For and Against Change

Following an email from Neil Croft of Authenticis, I found myself looking at the websites www.positivemoney.org.uk (a campaign to "fix the banking system so that it works for society and not against it") and www.bendyson.com. Ben Dyson (not bendy son!) is driving a campaign to bring change in the way our banking system operates. We may desperately need change, but bringing it about will requires an understanding of the powerful forces AGAINST change and effectiveness in mobilising the forces FOR change.

Dyson convincingly argues with powerful data that the banking crisis and government bailout has serious implications for society and for the next generation. It is interesting that legislation around control of the printing of money was created long before the digital age. Most money today is digital, not paper and metal. This means private banks can legally produce more money at an accelerating pace and create instability as we've seen recently.

What is Your Hidden Legacy?

Today over lunch a former client reminded me how he had negotiated a better pay package using an approach I taught him several years ago. Then he recounted how he recently negotiated a better business deal using the same principles.

After lunch, I caught up with another former client I'd not seen since last year. She had a rather more painful story to share regarding the recent breakdown of her marriage. What was remarkable in her case was how well she was coping with a very challenging set of circumstances that were not of her choosing. She shared that her own personal development during my work with her was enabling her to handle this crisis much more effectively than she would otherwise have done.