When Sladen Consulting was conceived almost 14 years ago my vision was to work from home within a radius of 50 miles. So much for my forward planning – I totally failed! For the last two years I have only worked in the UK for 5 days. I love international travel and I love the privilege and luck I have had to visit some amazing places. But there is nothing quite like working at home – my home country that is.
Imagine my delight when a friend and valued customer invited me to support a team meeting in the UK – I jumped at the chance and loved every minute as you can probably see from the selfie below.
Sladen Consulting love to have fun! This year’s Christmas retreat was spent in the amazing city of Prague. Our wonderful colleague and “goddess of all things complicated”, Anna, accompanied by her husband John, traveled with Julie and I to this medieval historic city. We had an action packed 2 days including a snowy city cycle tour, Christmas markets and shopping as well as copious quantities of their world famous pork knuckle, sausages and beer.
We wish you all a wonderful festive season and look forward to seeing you in 2019.
I am seriously blessed to be lucky enough to have found a career I love. One of the additional benefits is that, at times I find myself in some amazing locations.
Cape Cod, at Christmas, on the beach, is one such example. The most senior leaders of a global R&D organisation chose this venue to spark their creativity, inspire innovative thought and have conversations that would make the difference.
What could a team possibly do in deepest, darkest rural Italy? Of course there was only one thing – truffle hunting. Of course! When the idea was first discussed I was highly skeptical. I thought it would be a set up, an absolutely fake experience created for the corporate tourist. In reality, I was surprised and amazed.
We were met by a lovely Italian couple and their pet dog. Not only did they educate us in the “whys and wherefores” of truffles, but also on the rural aspects of Italian life that had gone on for centuries. We slowed down and were encouraged to notice our environment and not miss things such as the types of trees, where the water flowed from and the various insects and wildlife.
The walk was wonderful – up hill and down dale through the woods and I was amazed how the dog searched out and found our hidden treasure. We found 8 in total with a retail value of about 800 Euros – not bad for a countryside walk! So, this curious event, and unique team building experience had many lessons, not least “don’t jump to conclusions” but the main one for me was to be present, to slow down, and to notice the small things. I wonder what we miss by not doing this?
The 11th November 2018 was a poignant day for many. This milestone signified the 100th anniversary of the Armistice – marking the end of the First World War. It was not a moment to glorify war, but to remember those of all race and religions who sacrificed their lives for how we live today.
It made me reflect on the importance of tradition and not to forget key moments of a shared journey. As you think back – what have been the key moments in your life and how have these affected the choices you make today?
It was a true privilege to have the opportunity and luck to work with this fabulous Leadership Team. This cheerful bunch do something great in this world. They are all driven by a single purpose – to improve and prolong patient’s lives that are living with, and suffering from, cancer. Most of us will know someone, or have been intimately connected to those who have lived through, or are living with, this terrible disease.
The team in this picture do meaningful work. It is what gets them out of bed, particularly when things are tough. It makes me think of the work I do and a higher purpose. Yes, we need money to support our families and the lives we lead, but I am sure if we are connected to a higher purpose, not only do we lead more fulfilled lives, but we produce better results. What do you work for?
Do you know the phrase – “you can’t see the wood for the trees”? I am sure you do!
It is a good turn of phrase and it helps to check myself in not getting lost in the detail. Sometimes I find myself trapped in the hustle and bustle of the everyday. I am constantly checking my mobile phone, responding to e-mails and continually WhatsApping. My wife, Julie, is brilliant at reminding me to look up and notice the bigger picture – what is really important.
I wonder if you are like me? Do you miss things, opportunities and connections by simply walking by and not noticing?
I don’t think I know anyone who says that they don’t support Gender Diversity. Of course I do. I found however, my arrogant assumption was challenged when I was privileged to attend the Annual Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association European summit in Berlin.
This was attended by over 250 delegates, 5 of whom were men. I was seriously in the minority and stood out like a sore thumb. The event was truly inspirational, hearing stories of women leading innovation, acting bravely and making a difference in the world.
I was also challenged in my clumsy use of language and my unconscious bias leaked like a sieve from every pore. This experience really made me reflect on how I come across and even though I am a supporter of Gender Diversity in its wider sense, my upbringing and experiences affect the way I behave. It has made me think far harder about the impact my behaviour has on others. I wonder if you fall into the same trap?
A brave group of intrepid Investment Analysts and Relationship Managers embarked on a pilot to explore the secrets of Design thinking. Cynically optimistic, we embraced the tools, techniques and mindsets of the design thinker.
We explored empathy and curiosity as sources to generate client insight and practiced these in a creative and real-life setting. After a face-to-face immersion (2 1/2 days) and a period of co-coaching to embed learning, the results have shown a significant positive return, and the client is enthusiastic to roll out design thinking throughout the organisation.