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Cities

How going places makes me a better communicator

20170921_133055About 15 years ago I completed a leadership programme that in part suggested I lean towards the visual side of things. My mum always said I never listened so it sort of made sense. In the years since I’ve tried to better understand and develop this trait to help me be a better communicator. This post is about that.

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Respect in how we share

It wasn’t the trip we’d planned. It wasn’t the Friday night the majority of people had planned. We were lucky; a forgotten set of keys and what might have been.

We were in Paris the weekend of the terrorist attacks. Whilst deeply saddened, shocked and since troubled by it; we came home. Hugged by friends and relatives and helped through the weeks after at work by colleagues, we thank everyone for their concern. Others weren’t so lucky.  Continue reading “Respect in how we share”

The personal touch

IMG_20130826_181316As usual, the seasonal break has been a time of contemplation and self reflection. I’ve been considering what’s happening and changing in my area of work, around where I live and at home as myself, colleagues, family and friends prepare to move on to the next chapters of our lives.

It’s made me consider and appreciate what I have. I’ve also read far more than I usually do and I’ll share some of that shortly.

The family was reunited as firstborn returned from Russia before heading off on his travels again in February. Russia is a communication culture we’ve recently learnt about by experience. It’s not as easy to access folk in Russia in some ways but compared to how things were when I was studying away from home it’s a lot easier. We did however Skype him every week and perhaps spoke more often than when he was at university in the UK. It was good to actually see him talking with us. It certainly narrowed the distance but it’s been really nice to have him home.

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Devaluing friction

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Use words like ‘disruptor’ or ‘activist’ when talking about organisational development or business change and there will probably be a few eyebrows raised.

“Disruption! – we’ll have none of that round here thank you kindly, even though things need to change”

Well it’s been a year since seeing the sun go the other way across the sky showed me that being prepared to see things differently can make a huge difference to how we interact with others. 

Another penny dropped whilst on my travels about how what we value might be perceived as different to what others value or see, even when it’s the same thing. Similarly, that how we demonstrate what we value can say a lot about us.

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A river runs through it

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That’s the title of a 1992 film based on a 1976 book by Norman Maclean about family life in early 20th century Montana. The book and film are presented from the view of older brother Norman who goes on one last fly fishing trip with his troubled younger brother Paul; the river being the focus to engage in an attempt to help him get his life on track.  Continue reading “A river runs through it”

Hoping for a conversation, but never mind

cropped-20140516_0805132.jpgEarlier this year I attended Urbanized; the second film in the #cityseriesleeds set of films. The aim, other than showing films in a great little cinema in Hyde Park, Leeds, is to encourage discussion and debate under the #cityseriesleeds tag and on various forums about how Leeds is and how it could be.

Both films so far have touched on the design and development of cities across the world. The discussion following Urbanized focussed on community engagement processes of various design projects shown in the film.

Someone suggested trying to get everyone’s views in any consultation just won’t help and that some consultation is just seen as ticking the box. A point also made, as shown in the film, was that smaller and different ways of getting people’s views might give planners, architects, designers and those elected and responsible for setting direction a gut feel so they can lead the project forward but based on their experience and mandate.

A few folk talked about how they thought timely communication at different stages of any engagement is crucial. Someone suggested that consultations/discussions are usually hijacked by the ‘usual suspects’ who shout loudest and are likely to put others and the little voices off contributing.

Time always catches up with things just when they are getting interesting but those present were asked to continue the discussion online. This post is part of that discussion.

Continue reading “Hoping for a conversation, but never mind”

Seeing things differently

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In 2013 I was fortunate enough to travel to Australia. Something happened there that really made me think about how I sometimes view things.

It was late in the afternoon and the sun was just starting to sink. We’d been doing the sights in Sydney and decided to have a drink in one of the quayside bars. The tables had sun shades and we chose a table; part inside and part out as it was cooling down. I’d picked a seat partly in shade but which would be in the sun shortly.

Continue reading “Seeing things differently”

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