Personal Development


RollercoasterOn holidays in Portugal, I brought two kids to the local water park – my daughter Nicole and Linda’s niece – Lauren. We found a parking spot for our towels, under the shade of a huge Pine tree. It was the only way to avoid becoming spot-welded to the grass in the intense heat. As I was unpacking my novel, Lauren, a great kid who never asks for anything, said:

learning organisationAccording to Fortune magazine, the successful organisation of the future will be "something called a learning organisation."

Just what constitutes a ‘learning organisation’ is a matter of some debate. We explore some of the themes that have emerged in literature and contributions of key thinkers like Donald Schon and Peter Senge (writer of The Fifth Discipline). Is it anything more than rhetoric? Can it be accomplished?

One of the ways I explain stress on my training courses is to ask the participants after the tea break to tell me how heavy their cup of tea was.

People think about it for a few seconds and generally give varying answers from 20 grams to 300 grams.  So I’ll carry out an experiment.  I’ll get a few glasses of water and ask a few people to hold them.  No problem.  Then I ask them to hold them at arms length.  I continue talking for a few minutes, with them continuing to hold them at arms length.  Then I ask them are they any heavier.  Some say yes and others say no.  Then I ask, if they were to hold them like that for an hour or longer, would they be heavier.  The answer is a definite yes.

Like the cut in designer jeans, the world of management consulting is also influenced by fashion trends.  While Right versus Wrong trumps New versus Old – clients still expect consultants to keep up to date. We ignore the latest trends at our peril.  It’s like playing  ‘Yesterday’ at a gig; people can normally relate to it. But play Let her Go by Passenger  and you look like an up-to-the-minute hero. However, there are some organization issues which have a sort of universal truth and remain applicable all the time.  Great diagnosis is one issue that never goes out of fashion.  To tell this tale, let’s take a half-step backwards in time.

Have you read “Steps to an Ecology of Mind”?  It was written in 1972 by Gregory Bateson.  I won't blame you if you haven't read it because it’s not necessarily an easy read and the subject matter includes essays on anthropology, cybernetics, psychiatry and epistemology.  Lots of big words!

This week we come to the final part of our trilogy on productivity (it’s exciting, isn’t it?) with a look at how to Manage Yourself when you hit a speed bump.  I know that productivity is not the most glamorous topic. Unless you are hoping to be certified as mentally ill, you’re unlikely to burst out of the shower shouting: ‘Eureka! I’ve discovered the source of Personal Productivity’ But, when it comes to career success, being productive is right at the top of the food chain.  Don’t knock it until you’ve cracked the code.

I recently attended an evening function, a debate on Ireland’s economic outlook. The line up of speakers was good, worth trucking through the rain to hear. We were all set. Lights, camera, action!


A few years ago Jay Abraham, the world-renowned marketing expert, coined the phrase “people are silently begging to be led”. He didn’t mean it in a derogatory sense. His Thesis: Because there’s so much information available about any given topic, staff can be overwhelmed with data and need someone to make sense of this. The steady diet of doom and gloom in a 5+ year Irish recession means that we’ve suffered from a drip-feed of negativity (”Our grandchildren will be paying for this recession”; “If they were living in America, the people involved would be in jail”). The Result: Staff drop down the gears as the entire country becomes mildly depressed. The Cure: People look for someone they can trust to guide them forward. But they won’t just listen to anyone. They’ll follow someone whom they respect, someone who’s demonstrated an ability to make things happen. Is this person you?

You never know what is around the corner and in the event of an unforeseen happening it is vital to have important personal details close to hand. With this in mind, we provide you with a choice of three Personal Affairs Checklists.  Just go to the bottom of this article, below the social media buttons, in the section that reads 'download attachments'.


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