What did I take from the GDAW event? Well, I got a glimmer of hope.
Anne Franke (CMI) talked us through the statistics of the effectiveness of management and leadership development. Did you know that investing in leadership builds business, retains talent and improves wellbeing? Well, Anne does and she has the science to prove it. She also smells A RAT. Apparently staff want a sense of Achievement, Respect, Autonomy and Trust – who knew?!
John Timpson rocks! Two rules for his staff; dress the part and put the money in the till. This works, despite taking a significant number of his staff from prisons. Other guidelines for Timpsons staff are that they can order their own stock, charge their own prices for goods, spend up to £500 to settle a complaint and take birthdays off work. And that’s not even the half of it. There’s not even any appraisals; as the conversations are so frequent, there’s no need. I could eulogise about John Timpson, Patron Saint of Well being at Work, but I’m too busy queuing for a job! And I understand it’s a long queue.
We then had a plenary session with Cary Cooper (Robertson Cooper), Will Hutton (Chair, Big Innovation Centre), Doug Shaw (What Goes Around) and Barbara Whent (Rio Tinto). Great views on wellbeing and its impact (well done to Barbara for giving some of the credit to Bhutan! – folks nearly got carried away with Cameron at one point.) I would have liked to ask Will about an article I heard on Radio 4 where he started to talk about followship (as opposed to leadership).Meh, I’ll be frank, with such awesome brains on stage, who’s going to interrupt just to ask questions?!
Alan Littlefield (Complete Coherence) got the after-lunch, graveyard shift. But you’re not going to ignore a man who’s going to give you tips as to how to make every day brilliant – all day. He talked us through the physiological basis of what makes you brilliant every day and showed us how to significantly increase mental clarity, energy and quality of decision making so that every day is, well, great. And he was, well, brilliant!
After so much excitement, I got to calm right down through some mindfulness meditation guided by Michael Chaskalson (http://www.mindfulness-works.com/michaelchaskalson1.php). Informed by his own practice, which goes back to the ‘70s, he made me realise a raisin was once a grape (you had to be there), reminded me that I need to stop and reflect on occasion and to exercise my intentional muscle – did we intend to focus on that, or are our brains meandering again? My new mantra is “neurons that fire together, wire together”.
We also became acquainted with Tom Nixon’s experiences. Tom works with WorldBlu as an ambassador, using his experience of building a democratic company himself (Nixon McInnes) to help businesses to understand how embracing freedom can build happy, engaged, high performing and profitable workplaces. He asked us what we would do if we weren’t afraid. Shame. That so many of us are ‘afraid’ to work to our strengths and challenge the status quo.
There were four other parallel sessions that I missed. All equally as compelling. This event ticked so many boxes for so many people and gave folks so many thoughts and tools to take back to their workplace. And watch this space because in the next week GDAW are sending all attendees a link to a free website for anyone to access.
There were many committed people from all sectors in attendance at the event – private, public and charitable. But there were no CEOs. There were champions of wellbeing, flag bearers, pioneers in the making and some early adopters. The consensus of those attending that I spoke to was that there was a glimmer of hope; we need to take a guerrilla approach, go viral and aim to reach the tipping point. Personally, I’m nominating John to lead us.