Progress School in Leeds

Just about to embark on a new venture in Leeds called Progress School, providing pay what you can professional and personal development.  Progress School offers:

  • A confidential and supportive environment in which to plan your personal and professional development
  • Time to develop a vision for the ‘ideal you’ and to learn more about the ‘real you’ – how you are perceived by others
  • Recognition of strengths and gaps – those potentials that you have not yet fully realised
  • A learning agenda – identify what you need to learn and how you are going to learn it to bridge the gap between ‘real’ and ‘ideal’
  • Access to a network of fellow Progress School members who will commit to helping you learn
  • A chance to experiment – to try out new behaviours and skills – to see if they work for you
  • Develop new practices that help you make progress

Progress School is designed to offer you a flexible process to support your development.  The more you attend the more you are likely to get from it – but there is no curriculum to follow – just a process of reflection and action to engage with.

Interested?  Book Your Place…Now

Prices start from free….

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Progress School in Leeds

Looking to broaden and deepen your personal and professional development?

Live and or work in Leeds?

Check out Progress School

Not in Leeds but like the idea of a Progress School on your turf?

Get in touch!

Conducting and Leadership

Find yourself half an hour and wathc ths wonderful video to learn about leadership from conductor Itay Talgam.

Looks at various conducting styles and teaches profoundly while entertaining!

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Passion Depletion?

We all have days, sometimes weeks, months even years when our enthusiasm and love for life is not as high as we want it to be. Don’t we?

We all suffer bouts of ‘passion depletion’.

In my world ‘passion’ is not just about enthusiasm, love and enjoyment.  It is also a measure of suffering – as in ‘the passion of Christ’.

It is a measure of how much suffering we are prepared to put up with to pursue that which we love.  It is linked to the question ‘Are you willing to pay the price for the success that you desire?’  What will you put up with, put at risk in order to pursue your dream?  How many hours of practice, research, writing, planning and thinking?

In this formulation ‘passion depletion’ (now meaning a reduction in the amount of suffering you are prepared to put up with in order to pursue your goals) is a sign that you are falling out of love with your original goal.  Perhaps there is something else that you would rather suffer for?

It maybe a very positive sign that ‘new doors’ are opening.

I know that this formulation about suffering is not popular, but for me it does reflect more of the truth of day to day life and professional and private practice.  It provides me with a useful benchmark against which to gauge my life choices.

When some of your team seem to have ‘passion depletion’  it might be telling you, and them, something important.

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Motivation, Power and Self Interest

Leeds Photo by Barnaby Alldrick

Leeds Photo by Barnaby Alldrick

Carmine Coyote has written a provocative post which explores the fundamental dishonesty of motivation.

But I think Carmine has given motivation a bum rap!

What has been called ‘motivation’ is really ‘manipulation’.  Manipulation to get people to do something that the manager wants them to do.

Now I don’t think any manager can ‘motivate’ anyone beyond the short term fix of the pep talk.  (I think that we should set trading standards onto speakers who claim to be ‘motivational’.  The good ones might educate about motivation – but in my experience the motivational, as opposed to the educational, impact of their presentations tails off within a few hours of their closing remarks.)

What managers can do is to help each employee to get really clear on their (the employees) self interest and how working towards organisational objectives serves it.  Once this is done motivation will follow as sure as night follows day.  Or the employee will leave to find a place where they can pursue their self interest more effectively.  And this really forces employers to look at the value proposition that offer to their employees.  Why should good, compassionate, competent people choose to spend their working hours with us?  If it is just for the money then “Houston, we have  problem!”

Self interest, rightly understood, properly negotiated with others and then pursued with vigour and power leads to remarkable results and one of its many by-products is ‘motivation’.  Others are inspiration, creativity, innovation, passion, energy, vigour, strength.  But the proper negotiation with others is critical.  Blending self interests, weaving them together,  ensuring that they reinforce rather than undermine each other, lies at the root of all high performing teams.  And this is the real craft of the progressive manager.

The trouble is most of us feel uncomfortable about pursuing self interest.  We are uncomfortable talking about it.  We don’t even like to give ourselves the time to think about it.  We have been socialised to suppress our self interest and look for opportunities to serve others.  And VERY few managers build the kind of relationships where self interest (of all parties) can be clarified and negotiated fully to the benefit of all.

Carmine’s point about the fundamental dishonesty of motivation, that it is about getting people to ‘do more work for less reward’ is, I believe, a misrepresentation.  Employees who create value deserve a proportionate share of that value and this depends on the proper negotiation of self interest.  If the negotiation is not proper, but unfair, then self interest is not fully served and as a result motivation erodes.

Increasingly the nature of the reward is more than simply financial.  Employees are looking for a diverse and intensely personal cocktail of rewards with ingredients that include fulfilment, challenge, flexibility, creativity and personal and professional development.  These are essential components of self interest for most of us and help to keep people motivated at least as much as money, which is just a hygiene factor.

Appreciation also needs to be part of the mix.  It absolutely is part of the package of ‘rewards’ that most of us look for at work.  And it is a part of the job that many managers struggle with as they tend to leave things alone until they go wrong.

And perhaps we (professional management educators) need to do more with managers on ‘motivation’ as an emergent property – the preconditions for which require a full and proper negotiation of self interest(s) and the development of the employees power to pursue it with vigour.

And while I don’t think that people are any different in the third sector, I do think that the cocktail of self interest often needs to be much more carefully balanced.  And many third sector managers forget this at their peril.  Few of us join social enterprises to be overt vehicles for the delivery of government policy.  We join social enterprises to promote social justice.  And the ‘self interests’ of politicians and the promotion of social justice are rarely properly negotiated.

Your thoughts….

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Aziz Ansari

Some gentle jolts around diversity, stereotypes, celebrity, Kanye West and social marketing/Web 2.0.

And a lot of laughs!

Another video – and you will need sound for this one.

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Management Lessons from Frazer Irving

Had the privilege of attending my first Creative Networks event at Leeds College of Art.  Frazer Irving – a wonderful illustrator talked about his career – from which I took the following:

  1. the seeds of your future are often sown early
  2. just because it sells does not mean it is good – heroin is not better than tofu – even if it does shift more units
  3. provoke, invoke, evoke
  4. 5 years of crappy jobs and being on the dole – being on the dole were the ‘happy days’
  5. ideas burning on the inside
  6. managers/editors can leave you with tears streaming down your face and your soul ripped out and thrown on the floor
  7. the bad times provide the fuel and drive to allow the good
  8. an incessant streak of optimism helps – on being rejected by judges in a portrait competition Frazer chose to believe it was because he wasn’t important – although it might have been because I wasn’t very good
  9. it takes a lot of time, training, passion and life experience to really master your subject
  10. great technology combined with great passion and skills produce remarkable, beautiful and important results
  11. sometimes you need someone to say ‘chin up – you will be alright’
  12. sometimes when your art is ripped off it gets you great new gigs – life-changing breaks…
  13. be a slave to the muse – let the story dictate the style
  14. it is really about finding out who you are and what you can become
  15. treat me as a ‘pencil monkey’ and you will get mediocrity
  16. in the comic world a lot of bad product is there because of poor management – comics and every other industry on the planet – management is perfectly evolved to get the results it gets
  17. if it is bad it is (nearly always) because the managers/editors have put the wrong people on the job
  18. if you have recruited the wrong people then forcing them to compromise WILL lead to mediocrity
  19. recruit great talent carefully and then trust it do deliver on its own terms – not yours
  20. when your hobby becomes your job – you get another hobby
  21. musicians jam and sometimes the results are great – what is the jamming equivalent for you?
  22. be careful about your reputation – one person saying you migh tnot hit a deadline in a public forum can be a killer
  23. sometimes it is best not to claim the credit for all your ideas
  24. it really is full of ups and downs – but you come out of the downs with even more resources – psychological and technical if not financial

This was a great networking event – convival atmosphere – great facilities – good food – great speakers and good managment.

If only all networking opportunities were this good!