The times they are a-changing

dylan_timesYesterday I was at a conference hosted by the andpartnership about Leading for a Changing World in the great surroundings of The Art House in Islington – a unique and opulent setting (and they do great food too!) – just in case you’re looking for a venue with a difference!

The human side of change is the thing the andpartnership team specialise in, which would make Leading for a Changing World an obvious choice for a conference topic. And yet, it’s not just that. The team at ‘and’ think that change is changing!

Hearing from the room the trends of change were about the constant-ness and pace of change – you think you’ve just ‘done it’ and then something else comes along.

There was talk about dealing with change from the inside-out instead of letting the outside affect how you feel inside.

There was concern that expectations of leaders are rising – but are we or they really clear what those expectations are?

And there was recognition of a need to move away from paternal, process leadership to heartfelt, innovative leadership – and yet how do we do that in an increasingly complex and globalised world?

This question lead us on to hearing about the broader context we’re operating in. The world is changing, it’s shrinking (don’t worry, not literally!), resources are diminishing, tech is everywhere, the numbers of old people are growing while young people are shrinking (again, not literally!) and people are generally getting more demanding and choosey.

Although, on the plus side, some people are seeing the benefits of breaking down barriers that have existed for years. They’re collaborating which, if you’re interested in this collaboration stuff, pop over here ( to see some recent interviews with L&D / OD / good-people-stuff people who believe in collaboration for better work and better lives. These people are realising the benefit of involving others to create more and better. I reckon these are also the people who are willing to take some risks and fail and learn, believing in what they’re doing and believing that, in the end, they’ll achieve what’s important and they want to make that difference.

There’s more being said in the world about a shift in the type of leadership needed to keep pace with this context and which was echoed in the session….

Egocentric leadership – all about me
Fear of disruption
Providing the answer
Knee jerk reaction
Wait and see – which I would build on with ‘wait till it’s perfect’

Altrocentric leadership – all about others
Intelligent reaction – seeing things coming & having the courage to decide & act
Asking the questions – the knowledge is all around us online & in other people. Coaching to release that power in others.
Balancing agility and resilience – being able to deal with all the stuff that’s going on around us & respond when it’s right.
Fail fast experimentation – it’s OK to sometimes get it wrong but learn fast and iterate what you’re doing


As the day progressed, we heard from two speakers who were at opposite ends of the change experience spectrum – First was Kieran Stigant, Former CEO of Wessex County Council – his was the sort of change that’s like turning a tanker that’s stuck in a sea of treacle – and then Ali Humphries, Group HRD for Aldermore – a new bank for small businesses – her’s is the sort of change that’s like trying to wrestle a new born octopus covered in olive oil! But both of these situations needed, and continue to need, a clear purpose, values around what the organisation stands for, and clarity about how they want things to feel round there.

After some open space to talk about leading through a changing world I noticed a trend emerging – a trend of fear…..
Leaders don’t feel they can be authentic because they’re afraid of what people / their boss will say, of what it means for their business results and therefore pay.
Leaders don’t want tech or Social Media to be part of work because they’re afraid of what might happen if they let people loose (no matter that everyone’s accessing it on their smartphones anyway!).
Leaders want to keep processes and procedures tight because the opposite of this control feels far too scary.

So when Andy Cope arrived to talk about his research into happiness – and the secrets of the 2%’ers who spend most of their time at the upper ends of the happiness scale – there came some links to everything we’d been talking about.

 Trigger – Feeling – Behaviour – Outcome

With so many potential triggers in the world around us, how much time do we spend with feelings of fear, uncertainty, concern?

And therefore how many unhelpful behaviours and outcomes does this create?

And most people aren’t even aware – because the fear can be stealthy and quiet.

But if we’re really going to crack our ability to deal with all this constant, fast-paced change, it comes back to something that was said at the very start of the day – we need to be ‘dealing with change from the inside-out instead of letting the outside affect how we feel inside’.

So how do we do that then?

For my own coaching practice this is the stuff I often work on with people and which I find creates the biggest shifts. It’s the things we believe and the thoughts we have that cause us to even be ‘triggered’ in the first place and I love to help people develop more helpful beliefs and thoughts so those triggers aren’t in control of their emotions any more.

But for now, to start changing how you feel on the inside, try practicing these tips from Andy Cope and theBob_the_builder Art of Brilliance team…..and remember, a lot of our 4000 weeks of our lives have been spent learning behaviours from mood-hoovers, it comes as part of the British mood-hoover cultural norm……so we now need to make a choice to learn to be positive for the weeks we’ve got left…..

Got toothache? No? Fantastic!

It might sound odd, but waking up every morning being thankful for not having toothache will start to help you focus on what’s great about you, your life your amazingly clever body! Do this every day (Andy recommends at least a year) and after a while, maybe progress to another body part you’re proud of for working so amazingly well!


For every negative, you need 3 positives as a MINIMUM to achieve happiness – although ideally you want to be around the 5:1 mark to have a thriving environment.

Notice at work how many positives you role model to others. What would the ratio be between you and your spouse?

Another option is to practice for yourself. Get into the habit of writing down 3 good things that have happened that day.

It starts to help you spot the good stuff more easily.

And last but not least…… the 4 minute rule

You know that thing you need to do that you really can’t be bothered with. Your heart sinks every time you think of it.

Well, just try starting with a goal of spending 4 minutes on it. You’ll be surprised how quickly you get into it and that you get further than you expected. At the very least you’ll have knocked 4 minutes off the task for next time!

Interested in more?

There’s loads of support you can gain through the andpartnership that will help you with this ‘inside out’ leadership stuff – whether it’s getting clear on your organisational purpose, getting clear on your own leadership purpose, maybe accessing coaching to work on some of the triggers that impact your behaviours and outcomes, or perhaps some positive psychology work with Andy.

The expertise is there waiting for you! Make the most of it – you’ve got less than 4000 weeks left!!

Photo credits to


2 thoughts on “The times they are a-changing

  1. Great blog! Totally with you on this! Coming from a person-centred and psychosocial approaches to addiction treatment, and motivating change through these methods – Into L+D and leadership, I can’t imagine doing in any other way.

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