A Message From Rod
20 years and still travelling. .
Next year will be our 20th anniversary and in that time we will have worked in 29 countries and with more than 40,000 people. Our journey, probably like your own as a business, has seen us enjoy great highs and also have to work through some tough times. We have formed some very close associations with organisations and with individuals, many of which have endured and blossomed over the years into real friendships. Throughout all of these 20 years, my hope would be that we have remained true and committed to our principles – that people are essentially positive and our role is to help them express that in their day-to-day encounters with other people.
When I look back, what I see clearly is that times of change are always opportunities to move forward. If you are prepared to stay focused on the moment and not get bogged down or lose sight of the things that really matter to you, then anything is possible!
I hope you enjoy this edition of True North.
Performance coaching is a well established development tool for larger organisations, but it can also play a vital role in helping growing businesses to build solid foundations.
There is a perception that to justify investment in external performance coaching support, you need to be either a major player with a large number of employees, or to have run out of your own ideas. The truth is that coaching is now integral to many organisation’s performance culture. Our experience is that there are a large number of forward-thinking companies, currently experiencing significant growth, who recognise the value in taking time-out to make sure that they are building a sustainable foundation on which to build their growing business.
At people=positive™, we work hard at helping to ‘make the complex simple’. We’ve built a strategic planning toolkit that works as well for a small group of directors starting up a new technology business, as it does for a medium-sized enterprise about to make a significant move into a bigger global market. The principles of engaging people in making informed choices about what to do now in order to influence the future are not directly correlated to how much office space you occupy. In fact, many senior executives in large multi-national organisations are focused on how to get people personally connected to a strategy that sometimes appears only to be relevant to ‘head-office’ and senior management.
We know that taking a Performance Pit-Stop has impact on day-to-day business and it needs to add value to the business. At the heart of our approach is a commitment to listening well and asking really good questions. Very often, people are so close to issues and day-to-day activity that it takes someone with an objective viewpoint to ask the apparently ‘obvious’ question that everyone else assumes has an equally obvious answer. With sensitive facilitation and creative processes, exploring these questions can be extremely rewarding. When a team works together on topics that are important to the business, and goes about it in a way that is fun and stimulating, the team is also developing and growing. Relationships move forward and new opportunities appear that would have remained hidden unless the environment and ‘climate’ for discussion had not changed. Too often ‘teambuilding’ is seen as a separate activity rather than an integral aspect of performance development.
When we enter into a Performance Coaching relationship with any organisation, we’re committing to bringing all of the experience and resources of our global team to the table. The coach who works with you will agree up front with you what they can contribute to your development, and together you’ll design a framework – a rough Map that will become more detailed as the journey progresses. At all times, we’re centred on your needs. That doesn’t mean that we won’t challenge you, or ask you to support your ideas with more objective data etc, but it’s your agenda – not ours that is important.
So, if you’re creating change in your team or business right now, perhaps the time is right for some support in making that change stick.
"Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things"
Peter F Drucker
the power of time & s p a c e . .
Why reflection is at the core of our approach to Leadership Development.
Personal reflection is an important element of any development journey. Sometimes we’re forced into it through circumstances beyond our control – an accident or sudden event, or we go on holiday and give ourselves permission to let our minds wander. Leaders, however, have a responsibility to the people they lead, to take time-out in order to look at their ‘world’ from different angles.
seeing things from a different perspective
We’ve been taking leaders into different environments for 20 years to help them reflect, and although many things have moved on, the principles remain constant. ‘A mind once stretched by an idea never returns to the same shape.’ When we’re co-creating Leadership Development Programmes with our clients, there are some guiding principles we operate under:
Ask yourself, “What can we do during this unique contact time, that can’t be achieved through personal study, online coaching or in-house learning & development programmes?”
- Individuals will all arrive at a different starting point. Making the experience personal is therefore fundamental to success.
- If the experience is just about work-related issues, then the ‘whole person’ is not being engaged in the process.
- Have participants been helped to prepare for the programme so that they are ‘ready’ to engage fully? Have they chosen to attend?
If the content of the programme is geared towards acquiring knowledge and developing skills, then very often reflection time is squeezed into the occasional wrap-up session at the end of the day. We prefer to build reflection time in as core, and then build other input around what comes from the insights gained during reflection. This can be done individually, in pairs or small groups, and as a larger group. This approach places the leadership emphasis on the delegates early on in the process, and ensures that maximum value is gained from the interaction with other peers, and from deeper exploration of current challenges and opportunities.
What has your recent experience of leadership development been like? Are you making time for reflection and seeing it as a ‘core’ leadership activity?
|"The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it"
Looking for a ‘FLAWLESS EXIT?’
bridging the performance gap
As the emphasis in the north Sea moves towards decommissioning, our expertise in helping teams to achieve Flawless Start-ups has helped us to develop a powerful performance coaching based approach to achieving Flawless Exits.
In the last 20 years, people=positive™ has had the opportunity to be involved in some great development projects on and offshore in the Oil & Gas sector. In the early 90’s we worked with teams on the Gannet field development, on Curlew with the first ESP technology in the North Sea, on major re-development projects in the Brent field, Buzzard, Clair, and more recently further afield on Sakhalin Island with the start-up of processing facilities for Exxon-Mobil. During this time the focus was on ‘Flawless Start-up’ and in putting effort into bringing key people together as early as possible to avoid problems down the line when changes become increasing costly and time-consuming. We have gathered this best-practice and experience gained over the years into a way of delivering world-class execution we call smart-track Projects. We work with Project Leaders to design interventions at staged intervals throughout the project life-cycle, and provide performance coaching support to the various teams involved across the project. Getting the key relationships right is critical to success. It’s too late to have this re-confirmed in a Lessons Learned workshop: ‘ Failure is good. . . as long as it doesn’t become a habit.’
In the North Sea, the emphasis is now moving more towards De-Commissioning. We are already involved with a number of projects where the goal in now ‘Flawless Exit’. High performance remains the core goal, with safety seen as integrated and complimentary rather than separate and conflicting. The principles of smart-track Projects remain relevant, as teams of committed individuals take on responsibility for the final chapter in the life of platforms and installations that have been the backbone of our industry for many years beyond their expected lifetimes. Our intention is to provide support to these teams to ensure that these projects are safe and successful.
If you’d like more information on our work with major project teams across the globe, contact :
Barney Mackie, Director of Knowledge & Innovation firstname.lastname@example.org
|"Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm"
Keeping Safety Messages Fresh
When it comes to designing effective safety training programmes, looking for fresh ways to engage with people is vital to success.
making new connections
The cry of ‘Not another new initiative’ used to be the fear of many organisations when attempting to introduce new tools or approaches in safety. With the current environment of shortage of skilled workers, high-turnover of people and more individuals from overseas working in multi-lingual teams, there is a continual emphasis on ensuring effective induction into safe operating practices on the shop-floor and on platforms and rigs. Increasingly, we are being asked to help safety professionals and champions to re-energise their safety training and induction programmes.
Our experience within other sectors in the UK, Rail, construction and transport, provides a pool of ideas that can be drawn on. Messages may remain constant, but finding new ways of helping individuals make them relevant to their own personal experience requires innovative thinking.
In people=positive™ we have always encouraged our team to‘re-invent’ the processes and activities we use regularly. This not only keeps them fresh and motivated, but also encourages continuous improvement in our product. In jazz music, soloists improvise on the theme of the tune which is always ‘standard’. If they find themselves playing the same ’improvisation’ all the time then they are ‘stuck’. The first step is to recognise and accept this, then experiment with new ways of approaching the same theme – change the picture you’re trying to create with the notes / change the dynamics / change the mood etc.
Some of the innovations we’ve brought to safety training and safety forums over the years:
‘Spot the Difference’ – taking a routine activity where violations are known to occur regularly and re-drawing the picture with some key changes. Simple but effective.
Video-diaries – many variations, from recorded messages made offshore played during onshore safety forums to ‘connect’ with more people and their issues / site visits in small groups shipyard to modules in shipyard under construction recording observations on the journey around then sharing different
Perspectives – Oscar for the best danger highlighted or best improvement to build-in safety / to creating short induction messages in ‘advert’ style format highlighting golden rules.
The Personal Safety Case – taking the idea of identifying risks and measures associated with
plant and machinery, and applying this to the individual – what makes you a risk and how will you manage this when working with others?
‘Near Myths’ – card game taking well-known viewpoints on safety-related themes, and arguing the opposite viewpoint to explore different perspectives.
Each of these activities of course, is only a vehicle to surface issues for discussion and reflection. The real learning begins when people identify ways to apply these new insights into their day-to-day working environment.
"A leader is a dealer in hope"
People=Positive Golf Team Challenge
On Sunday 27 April 2008 people=positive™ held a Team Challenge golf event in Carrbridge and were generously sponsored by two of their suppliers, IN Consultancy Services and the Beeches, Newtonmore.
The whole event was an overwhelming success with a fantastic sunny spring day. The golf course had been superbly prepared for the event and showed little remaining signs of having just been through a very difficult winter.
Participants were put into teams, each drawing a name of a country in which people=positive™ have worked and flying their respective flags!
As well as a Texas Scramble, the competition was enhanced in two ways as the teams traversed the course. Firstly there was a “magic ball” which had to be played by each team member in turn and this accumulated a medal score.
Secondly there was a “pub” style quiz to be answered by each team at each hole. The competition was then decided on the basis of Texas Scramble score plus Magic ball score minus handicap minus points for correct answers to the quiz! The emphasis was on fun and one of people=positive’s main focus areas, teamwork – it’s amazing how much easier it is to put one of the giant ‘base station’ tents when some of your team actually know what to do! I’d never put a tent up before and was really chuffed to know that the little bit I had done was helping to keep it all up!
People=positive™ provided delicious food for everyone before the event with bacon rolls and coffee and a soup and sandwich lunch when all the sunburned golfers returned to the clubhouse. Club Steward Suzanne Wilson did a great job of the catering, together with the assistance of her parents.
WINNING TEAM: (l to r centre) John Taylor, Ian Duncan, Stewart Taylor and Sheila Crosby flanked by Barney Mackie (people=positive™) and Neil Millward ( IN Consultancy Services) (left) and Donna Marshall (people=positive™) (right)
Most appropriately, the competition winners were the team representing Scotland with an impressive score of 143.8 comprising Stewart Taylor, Ian Duncan, John Taylor and Sheila Crosby. They were presented with individual medals and a handsome new team cup donated for this, the first of what will become an annual event.
As everyone enjoyed something to eat and drink after the golf, they were able to watch the fruits of Barney’s labour. He had been out and about on the golf course videoing each person as they took a shot. He then hot- footed it back to the club house and set up a projection screen so that everyone could watch their own technique as well as pick up tips from other players.
A raffle was held after the event and great prizes were up for grabs, including a weekend break at the Beeches, Newtonmore (Bed, Breakfast and Bliss!)including pampering and golf and a meal for two at Glenmore Lodge. Overall, a great day which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
"Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results"
George S Patton
PP Incorporated, Houston:
“The word is spreading” Tony Mitchell
This year has seen a growth in the diversity of our client base in the United States. While our safety culture work continues to develop and expand its client base, we are capturing new clients requiring support in the areas of: leadership development, project teambuilding and embracing diversity. Recently we worked with several supply bases for the Gulf of Mexico activities, helping them ensure they maintain their excellent safety records. We have also worked at Heliports, coaching the staff in how to proactively engage their passengers in really getting the safety message.
The great thing for us is how our British contacts of the past, have sought us out, during their assignments to the Houston offices of their companies. They want to use us as they know what we can do to help them. This has helped us get established here in the US and now people locally realise what we can offer.
Thank you to all our clients who have requested us to work with them. We look forward to assisting you more in the future.
|"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it"
Sea Kayaking Day:
our first client sea kayaking adventure
people positive™ held its first client invitational sea kayak day on Friday 9th May. The day was based out of Stonehaven, and any fears on what the North Sea may hold for us were quickly dispatched with gorgeous blue skies and a very forgiving sea state.
All the participants were directly involved with the oil sector, and it was great to get some of our existing clients out with new clients unfamiliar with the people positive brand.
We explored the coast to the south of Stonehaven, this is an excellent section of coastline for sea kayaking, and I think everyone who took part on the day was amazed to see the cliffs, caves and birdlife this area has to offer. We finished our day with a quick pint in the marine hotel, I’m sure that raspberry Belgian beer will grow on me after a few more tastings.
Thanks to all who participated on the day
2008 David Thompson Brigade
an epic journey
Voyageur Canoes on Peter Pond Lake, Saskatchewan Centennial Canoe Quest 2005
In May and June a brigade of 26 foot trade canoes will travel though Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. A distance of 3600 km in 63 Days from Rocky Mountain House to Lake Superior.
This journey celebrates the life David Thompson and the Voyageurs who explored and mapped these great rivers, great plains and mountains. In 1808 he travelled back from the Rockies to Fort William on Lake Superior to give news to the North West Company that he had crossed the Rockies.
200 years on this journey is still a great challenge with teams at times paddling for 12 hr and covering over 100 km in a day.
Dave Latham, a principal associate with people=positive Ltd. and his partner Siân Loftus will join the Brigade in Saskatchewan and paddle 1200km as part of the Borealis Canoe Club team down the North Saskatchewan River, Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Manitoba.
In 2005 Dave and Siân competed in the Saskatchewan Centennial Canoe Quest which took them 1000km down the Churchill River in Northern Saskatchewan and see this event as a continuation of that journey.
Dave would have loved to complete the 3600 journey but because of surgery to his shoulder last year felt that 1200 km was enough, this time!!
Dave and Siân would like to thank people=positive Ltd for supporting their team and Dave will be back with more stories of what It’s like to slot into team that you’ve never met!!
You can get more information and follow Dave and Siân’s progress on www.2008thompsonbrigade.com
Iain Jamieson Says Goodbye
Many of you will know of my involvement with Outf!t-Moray, a charity that provides outdoor activities to young people. I have split my time over the last 6 years between charity work and my business involvement with people=positive. Over the last year, Outf!t-Moray has grown to the point where it is in effect a small business employing 8 people and working with over 1000 different young people each year.
We are at the stage where we need to start generating more income of our own rather than rely on fundraising activity so I am now in the process of setting up the commercial arm of Outf!t-Moray. Consequently, I have decided to move on from people=positive and become fully engaged at Outf!t-Moray.
people=positive has provided me with tremendous opportunities over the years and I have worked with many interesting, dedicated and committed people from many organisations. The period has also been a great opportunity for my own learning and development and you can be absolutely sure that Outf!t-Moray will benefit from the experience and skills that I have gained.
My grateful thanks go to the people=positive team who have encouraged and supported me over the years and I wish all my colleagues well.
In this edition of True North:
A Message From Rod:
What’s happening at people=positive
How we help businesses to build solid foundations
The power of time and space
Why REFLECTION is so vital to leadership development
Looking for a Flawless Exit?
De-Commissioning and how our global expertise can help you
Keeping Safety Messages Fresh
Engaging your workforce
People=Positive Golf Team Challenge
Local sponsorship becomes annual event
PP Inc Houston
The word is spreading.....
Sea Kayaking Day
An adventure at Sea
2008 David Thompson Brigade
Iain Jamieson Says Goodbye