It’s been so long…

26 04 2011

…I’ve almost forgotten how to post onto my blog!

First things first, an apology for my silence for what WordPress tells me has been 155 days since I last posted!!!  Has it really been that long?  How time flies!

I wanted to share my news with you, which I hope may help explain why I’ve been somewhat absent.  In around 8 weeks there will be a new member to the team, as I’m over 7 months pregnant.

Suffice to say Maternity and Paternity laws have become topic of the month in our household and I’ve already started a list of intended articles to write for times to come.  Meanwhile, sporadic posting is likely to continue for the forseeable future…


So if “All the world’s a stage…” what about Age Discrimination?

26 07 2010

All the world’s a Stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages…”

As You Like It – 2/7

So if  “All the world’s a stage” what about Age Discrimination?

This question is one I’ve been mulling over a lot recently and particularly when talking to my coaching clients in the work I do.

It’s a fact**, and despite what a multitude of HR professionals/business leaders might tell you, we are all affected by the different stages that we’re at in life and the issues and challenges we face.

Here are some basics:

Figure 1. Adult Life Stages
Stage Key Issues Self-Image Goal Focus Relationships Community
Autonomy / Tentative Choices

(18 – 26)

Autonomy vs. Dependence

Tentative vs. Lasting Choices

Developing sense of personhood as separate from parents and childhood peer groups Defining self as an individual and establishing an initial life style Testing out new relationships (e.g., love interests, peer groups, and friends) Realigning focus from family of origin to new peers and groups
Young Adult


Turmoil vs. Certainty

Settling Down vs. Keeping Things Open

Questioning sense of self and who/what we want to become Re-assessing initial life style and making more permanent choices/ commitments Sorting out and deciding which relationships will become more permanent Re-thinking and evaluating commitments and connections
Making Commitments


Master vs. Apprentice

Permanent vs. Tentative Choices

Firming up/establishing a more permanent sense of self and who/what we want to become Deciding a life direction and defining/ aggressively pursuing a dream of what we want to accomplish in life Making more permanent commitments to love relationships, friends, and peers Establishing more permanent connections and community ties/ responsibilities
Mid-Life Transition


Resolving Key Polarities

Immortality vs. Mortality

Constructive vs. Destructive

Nurturing vs. Aggressive

Re-examining realities of projected ego and image vs. true self and struggling to define/accept true self Questioning the dream whether or not it was achieved and developing a more mature sense of what is really important Recognizing/ acknowledging one’s own negative, as well as positive, impact on relationships and correcting course for deeper, more authentic connections Disengaging from group and cultural pressures/norms to re-evaluate and restructure priorities
Leaving a


Contribution vs. Personal Benefit

Other vs. Self Centered

Social vs. Independent Accomplishments

Letting go of earlier inaccurate ego images and accepting oneself as a worthwhile being with weaknesses as well as strengths Making the best of the time one has left to help others and leave a positive legacy Settling into more realistic and rewarding relationships based on recognizing/ forgiving each other’s imperfections as human and helping each other grow Re-engagement on a deeper, more objective, less driven and more productive, level with family, friends, and society
Spiritual Denouement

(66 and beyond)

Hope vs. Despair

Survival of Spirit vs. Mortality

Surrender vs. Control

Accepting self as dependent on a wisdom greater than one’s own, recognizing that wisdom as benevolent, and submitting one’s self and life to that wisdom’s will Tying things up and completing the development of the person/spiritual being we want to become Accepting others and recognizing/ respecting humankind’s diversity as part of a greater wisdom’s plan Recognizing that life is only part of a larger, more enduring spiritual community and helping others understand that

Click here if you can’t view the above which was taken from

Of course, we are complex animals and often we weave our way through this path moving backwards and forwards between “ages”. Sometimes meandering back and re-working earlier stages and the choices we made, as we face unpredictable situations, achievements, traumas, and fluctuating career, family, or interpersonal situations.  But generally, it’s fair to say that we all recognise these stages.  We’ve all been through them.

And my point is this, to be better leaders and managers of your people.  In order to really understand them, it’s key to understand where they are in life, what’s driving them and what they are facing in their different life stages.  It’s about kicking the concept of Age Discrimination into touch – or at least putting it into some perspective.

So where are you right now in your life?  What challenges are you facing in or out of work that you’ve reflected on differently by thinking about your life in stages?  This is powerful stuff and something that so many of us put to one side.  I look forward to your your views.

Using this for Coaching Work

Some of you may like to consider using this in your own coaching or coaching work.  Here’s an idea of how:

  • Consider which Life Stage best outlines where you are today – pick the closest one for each column or more than one if that’s appropriate
  • What does that tell you about the choices you have in your life?
  • What values or beliefs do you have that are helping you stay where you are?
  • What values or beliefs do you have that will help you with your next stage?
  • How does thinking about your life like this help you?
  • What three (or more) things will you do now?

**For a more in-depth understanding of this area of social research, try googling the writings of Erikson, Levinson, Groeschel, Fowler to name a few…

To make you smile – A 5 minute Management Lesson

19 07 2010

I got sent this (slightly risque – sorry!) email today and felt I had to share its humourous wisdom…especially on a sunny Monday!

A 5 minute Management Lesson

Lesson 1 :

A priest offered a Nun a lift.  She got in and crossed her legs, revealing a little of her leg… The priest, glancing over, nearly had an accident.

After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg… The nun said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’

The priest removed his hand.  But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.   The nun once again said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’

The priest apologized ‘Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.’  Arriving at the convent, the  nun sighed heavily and went on her  way.

On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129.  It said, ‘Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.’

Moral of the story:

  • If you are  not well informed in your job, you might miss a great  opportunity.

Lesson 2:

A sales rep, an  administration clerk, and the manager are walking to  lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.

They rub it and a Genie comes out.  The Genie says, ‘I’ll give each of you just one wish.’

‘Me first! Me first!’ says the admin clerk..  ‘I want to be in the Bahamas ,  driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.’   Poof! She’s gone.

‘Me next! Me next!’ says the sales rep. ‘I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas, and the love of my life.’  Poof! He’s gone.

‘OK, you’re up,’ the Genie says to the manager.  The manager says, ‘I want those two back in the office after lunch.’

Moral of the story:

  • Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 3:

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing.

A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, ‘Can I also sit like you and do nothing?’   The eagle answered: ‘Sure, why not.’

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:

  • To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 4:

A turkey was chatting with a bull.  ‘I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree’ sighed the turkey, ‘but I haven’t got the energy’

‘Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?’ replied the bull.  It’s full of nutrients.’

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch..

Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story:

  • Bull s**t  might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there…

Lesson 5

A little bird was flying  south for the winter.  It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field.

While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on  him.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was.

The dung was actually thawing him out!

He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.  A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Moral of the story:

  • Not everyone who s**ts on you is your enemy.
  • Not everyone who gets you out of s**t is your friend.
  • And when you’re in deep s**t, it’s best to keep your mouth shut!

Wishing you a great week!


One life…

10 06 2010

I just read this brilliant quote from Steve Jobs, co founder and CEO of Apple, and had to share it with you alongside some thoughts:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

It comes from his 2005 Stanford Commencement speech where he talks about his life and how he, and his business, evolved.  See it here (around 8m 20 in):

Seems to me that so many of us spend our lives doing things in auto-pilot.  We stumble into our work and relationships often accidentally and live day by day, week by week living life without really seeing what it is we’re doing.  It’s only when something stops us in our tracks – often a rite of passage like birth, death, change in circumstance or major life event – that we wake up and look around at where we’re at.  Sure, we have our gripes and our groans about day to day living, but very few people seem to do much about changing their circumstances, rather accepting what’s been apportioned.

So Steve’s advice is that we all need to wake up.  Ask yourself:

  • Would you be happy doing what you do now every day of your life?
  • If not, why not?
  • What’s stopping you from doing what you love doing right now?  Even only a small part of what you love?

Steve says, “There is no reason not to follow your heart…Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

So which chocolate is it?

11 02 2010

It’s Valentine’s Day soon if you hadn’t noticed from the shops full of goodies and treats for us to buy for our loved ones, which got me to thinking …

“My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates” Forest Gump famously said.  An oh-so-true-metaphor when facing new challenges and adventures and I’ve noticed a number of different strategies which gives some insights into how a person handles choice:

The Traditionalist: You choose the chocolate you’ve always had, because you know you like it

The Artist: You choose the one that appeals to your artistic eye, it may be the colour or the shape that tickles your fancy

The Collaborator: You offer yours around before you choose

The Follower: You need to read the little insert which tells you what’s what before you choose

The Rule-breaker: You shut your eyes and let your hands guide you to the right choice

The Generalist: Only one chocolate!  Not you, you’ll have more than one

The Non-conformer:  You don’t eat chocolate

So when you’re offered your next box of chocolate, consider the gift it is really giving you.

Chocolates…how do you choose yours?

What I learnt about The Talent War from The Band of Brothers

3 02 2010

Back in the days before Crunch and Credit were in the same sentence, many of us were talking about a War for Talent. In fact I recall going to a conference about it with Gladiators handing out canapés at the Trocadero in London… I digress.

This War for Talent, a term coined by McKinsey in 1997, hinged upon a few pivotal themes, in short:

  • The need for great Talent is important
  • Demand for this Talent outstrips supply
  • The stakes are high
  • Companies are not prepared
  • The war will persist

With the job market starting to show some signs of improvement in specific skill-based areas, it’s clear that there remains a skills-shortage and that the Talent War is back on many businesses radar.

Recently I watched the Band of Brothers. I’m not normally into War programmes so I was surprised at the impact that this 10-part Mini Series had on me and my perceptions of wars. And it’s with this theme in mind, I thought I’d share some of my reflections on what we could learn from “Easy” Company that could easily be transferred to our very own War for Talent.

  • Great training and concern for the wellbeing of others means that you’ve a better chance of survival, even under the most trying of circumstances
  • Every single person has a vital role to play
  • Use all the resources that are available to you
  • From hardship stems remarkable teamwork
  • You need to believe in your leader to do great things
  • Sometimes the impossible is possible
  • You can be too involved in the action. Sometimes you need to step away and get some perspective

Do you have any reflections on this? Do you share my views?  I’d really welcome your feedback and any additions.

You may also like to know that I’m talking about the Talent War amongst other tracks at The Recruitment Unconference later this month. Why not come and discuss your thoughts there?

I’ll leave you with a quote from the series itself:

2nd Lt. George Rice: Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded.
Richard Winters: We’re paratroopers, Lieutenant. We’re supposed to be surrounded”

Time off, Time out, Time with, Time on, Time to, Timely…

7 12 2009

So I’m just back from a long weekend spending time relaxing, celebrating my partners’ birthday and doing things generally not related to work, internet or my business.  WOW!  What a fantastic experience being absent from the I-phone and laptop was!

I find myself refreshed, recharged and raring to go, renewed and rejuvenated from months of square eyed squinting at the computer screen!  I’m determined to spend more time on having time out and away from the distractions of everyday work accoutrements.  “Yada Yada”, some might say, “I’ve heard it all before and it’s all well and good when you’re running a business!”

But it’s something to think about.  We live in a Supra-World of eternal internet paraphernalia and discourse.  One in which it’s possible to do business with people we’ve never met or ever will, where we can have a meaningful dialogue with a total stranger in another language and in real time, creating infinite possibilities from our imaginations.  Amazing stuff.

But what does the future hold if we don’t balance our time on the important things and the things that are happening to us right now?  Do we really need to know everything right this minute?  To be permanently available and accessible?

A friend said something very powerful the other day – “you don’t hear many people on their deathbed wishing they’d spent more time in the office”  How very true!

So my learning from this weekend is to achieve that thing we call balance.   I will switch the work phone off after I finish work.  I won’t consult my work email after 8.00 at night.  I will treat the social media sites with the same respect I treat my online bank.  And I will review my diary to include “Me” days which may or may not involve no work at all!