Happy New Year! Have we ever started a new year with such anticipation, expectation and hope? Have we ever looked forward with such a sense of what we want to change? Have we ever contemplated the year ahead with such mindful determination to hold on to insights and habits forged through months of challenge?
As 2020 drew to a close, I found myself reflecting on the unconditional nature of dignity and the part we can play in honouring and securing it, for ourselves and others. In this article I offer my thoughts, deepened by the work of Donna Hicks, on how we can avoid the everyday temptations that violate dignity.
After the year we’ve had, don’t we owe ourselves a break from New Year resolutions? I offer these suggestions as a dignity-affirming alternative that, I hope, will transform all our relationships in the year ahead.
In this final month of this incredibly challenging year, I find myself reflecting on dignity. Why? Because this extreme situation has encouraged me to revisit foundational ideas and principles. It’s made me notice what really matters – to myself and those around me. It’s made me want to think deeper about the beliefs and values that provide structure to our behaviours.
Here I offer what I’m learning, from my own experience and from the ground-breaking work of Donna Hicks, about the unconditional nature of dignity. And I share my thoughts on what we can do to honour and secure the dignity that each of us possesses as our birth-right.
The global pandemic has brought home to us just how complex life really is. The future always was unchartered – but we chose to seek out predictions and forecasts. Now we’ve got to know uncertainty for ourselves. And we’ve learnt that our adaptability helps us live within it and lead others through it.
My invitation to you here is to support yourself, and those you lead, with the shift in identity that uncertainty demands of us. And my challenge to you is to accept that this lifelong quest lies at the heart of our role as leaders.
The challenge of working from home has freed many of us from the social and organisational constraints of the workplace. It’s handed us the responsibility to choose how we do our jobs while fulfilling the other important roles in our lives. And, in the process, it’s shaken up how we see ourselves and our contributions.
My invitation to you here is to support those you lead through this transition, to encourage them to bring more of themselves to their work, wherever they’re working.
For me, September feels like the start of a new year. A shift from summer adventures to a more defined routine. And, for many, a new year of learning at school, college or university. It’s a time that demands a quicker pace and a sharper focus. The transition can be challenging in a normal year. This September it’s happening in the face of new uncertainties within our work and learning environments, the possibility of a second wave as autumn draws in, and our concerns for our economy, our businesses and our jobs.
So my invitation to you, as we move into this uncertain phase, is to take a deep breath and find your focus.
Where are we in the lifecycle of this pandemic? Is this the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end? Or half time? And – as our days shorten and shadows lengthen – are we ready for whatever lies ahead?
In this article I want to celebrate the phenomenal flexibility we’ve all mustered over many months. Let’s not take it for granted. Let’s acknowledge it so that we can own this vital capability and continue to adapt in the months ahead.
What if 2020 is the year we embrace change, in a way unlike we have ever done in the past? What if we would, more intentionally, generate the best thinking in others and ourselves, for the good of all? What if – with creativity, courage, and commitment – we chose to become a thinking environment for others?
It’s hard writing about inclusion. How can I do it with any kind of honesty without talking about exclusion. And, of course, exclusion is something that most of us have very little experience of.
We’re learning that we need to do things differently. And as parents, teachers, mentors, coaches, teammates, employers and leaders we have the responsibility – and the power – to create inclusive environments. Many of us are working out what that means for the way we think and behave personally.
Here I share what creating a safe, inclusive space means for me. I offer my thoughts on how we can be truly welcoming by creating environments in which we listen deeply to what others think, feel and want to say.
We’re living through a paradox. A time of unimaginable disruption is being met with the most inspiring examples of human creativity, collaboration and compassion. We face a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tap into the creativity that is innate in all of us, and to express it in our own, unique way. Here I celebrate human creativity, and share my thoughts on how we can release and harness it, in ourselves and others.
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