Red Hot Blogs

A coaching letter to Theresa May

June 10, 2017 | Coaching Red Hot Blogs

"Getting someone to stand in for you on a TV debate is cowardly. Saying you are brave enough to call an election and then not show up for scrutiny is beyond damaging."

“Getting someone to stand in for you on a TV debate is cowardly. Saying you are brave enough to call an election and then not show up for scrutiny is beyond damaging.”

If I was asked (I won’t be) to provide some coaching for Mrs May here’s what I would say. Enjoy!

  1. Only ever surround yourself with the best people

Love him or loathe him I always admired the fact that Alex Salmond only ever employed the best people for the job. Being a leader doesn’t mean you trust a small coterie of acolytes, you have to be able to see through sycophancy when you are in the top job. Always have someone that will challenge your ideas and your thinking. You are NEVER right all the time. This may be unpalatable for those in power, but true.

  1. Be positive

You can’t possibly sell a negative message to get support. The Tory manifesto was absurd in the extreme. Giving unpleasant messages because you feel it’s for the greater good won’t win you any support. It was ridiculous and naïve. Every attack on the opposition loses you more votes than you garner. Fact.

  1. Listen

The biggest fear politicians have is that people don’t listen to them. In a crowded market you can struggle to get your message across, you only have to look at the TV debates to see that. Ironically though, you see a lot of politicians who don’t listen to what others are saying.

  1. You never get a second chance to create a first impression

Simply put, once people have made up their mind about you it’s the devil’s own job to change their views. You do this by showing some humility. Enough said.

  1. Don’t go round kissing babies

In other words stop the insincerity, you can’t fake being someone you are not. People sniff out insincerity a mile off. The politician with the £50k watch lecturing us on spending habits doesn’t cut it. There was a certain Welsh Labour politician who had two cars, a clapped out banger for when he visited his constituency and a new one for when he wasn’t. He lost his seat.

  1. Communication, try it

One of the most irritating aspects of any leadership campaign is the constant repetition of mindless slogans. Plaid Cymru had #DefendWales, thereby making potential supporters looking like they were victims, lowering the voters’ self-esteem and generally making people feel worse about themselves. Ridiculous. For her part, Theresa May seems to have perfected the art of not answering a question openly and honestly. Looking evasive is the same as being evasive. Stop doing it.

  1. Big up those around you

Not once did I hear any praise from Theresa May for her team. Not once. The best she did was to say the Lord Mayor of London was doing a good job, and he’s not even in the same party. Why should your team walk over hot coals for you when you only ever talk about yourself?

  1. Leadership is an absolute privilege not a right

I know a lot of MPs from all political parties and some are the nicest people you could want to meet. There are very few who are ‘in it for themselves’, a view commonly put about after the expenses scandal. However, the arrogance of belief and right on political correctness is a complete turn off. You have to admire Jeremy Corbyn for connecting with the youth vote here; they believed he was in it for them not him. Not sure you could say that about Theresa May.

  1. Do not hide behind others

I’ve seen lots of leaders get others to do their dirty work for them. I once had a CEO tell me the most important job his HR Director did was to fire people so he didn’t have to. Getting someone to stand in for you on a TV debate is cowardly. Saying you are brave enough to call an election and then not show up for scrutiny is beyond damaging.

  1. Say sorry

Too little too late is often the politician’s approach because they don’t want to look weak. After she had been to the Palace to see the Queen, Mrs May’s address to the press was a display of tone deaf, graceless arrogance that left people watching wondering who on earth advised her to do it that way. Sack the advisors!

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Here’s hoping …

April 5, 2017 | Red Hot Blogs

Screenshot 2017-04-05 11.06.25

There is a service of Hope today at Westminster Abbey. It will be attended by the establishment’s great and good, and maybe some of the not so good will manage to slip in. The service has been arranged for the families, friends and colleagues of those affected by the recent terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge. I trust it will bring comfort to those who need it.

However what has ‘Hope’ ever achieved? In business you soon learn that Hope is not a strategy and that you are, to say the least, better off with a plan. If it had been a service of reconciliation I could understand it but Hope seems a strange choice of theme.

During the Korean war the North Koreans were very adept at removing hope from prisoners of war. They gave the young American GIs all the bad news from home, the ‘Dear John’ letters and so on. They withheld any good news messages. They also broke down all sense of trust between the prisoners. In other words, you were given a privilege, usually a cigarette if you informed on your fellow prisoner, but so too were they. In the end no one could trust anyone else. These young soldiers would go and sit in a corner, put a blanket over their head and be dead within 24 hours.

So there you go. Perhaps the Church of England is onto something, hope along with prayer. It may well suit some but I am all for planning a few goals and that way I am pretty sure that I have more chance of achieving something concrete, rather than just hoping and praying things will happen.

To each their own but I know what I would encourage.

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La La Land

February 24, 2017 | Happiness Leadership Red Hot Blogs

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Or in other words Leicester City!

I have no doubt that La La Land is where most of the Leicester City FC supporters felt they were nine months ago when they won the Premiership. Come to that, the whole of the city were probably there too. If they weren’t, well they are now. In case you have not heard they have sacked the very manager that got them there, Claudio Ranieri. Now if the Board think that’s a good idea I would love to hear the reasons why. The club isn’t even in the relegation zone!

Aside from politics which can be a very brutal experience during elections, I think football management must be one of the most precarious jobs out there. Loved one minute, hated the next. A classic way to build insecurity. We wouldn’t do it to children yet we do it to adults; how fickle and what immature thinking.

The fact is that in doing this the Board has removed all responsibility from the players, the same core players that took them to victory. This action will make them feel they are no longer accountable for their results, the view being it’s all the manager’s fault. It isn’t, and as a business decision this could well rank up there with Gerald Ratner saying his jewellery business Ratners sold “total crap”.

No doubt there is someone lined up to take Ranieri’s place, another dispensable human being, measured very publicly by the weekly results.

Far cleverer people than me spend millions each year in some of the best universities around the world looking at leadership and what makes a good leader or a bad one. I would suggest that at Leicester City there is enough material for a dissertation! No doubt someone will do one. I feel sorry for Mr Ranieri,  voted the world’s best manager just a few short months ago.

It’s very often the case that it’s difficult to replicate success and the harder you try then the tougher it seems to get, but that’s life, and there are some very good techniques that help. Sacking the manager isn’t one of them.

So back to La La Land, the fact that Ryan Gosling can neither sing nor dance isn’t going to prevent the film sweeping the board at the Oscars. My daughter and I both agreed that it didn’t matter that he was talentless in those two areas as he was just good enough to look at.

We would still pay to go and see him and give him another chance if he chooses to sing or dance again.

I reckon Claudio needed just that, another chance.

(image courtesy of BBC)

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December 23, 2016 | Coaching Confidence Happiness Leadership Red Hot Blogs

 

REDCo CEO Claire Howell has coached leaders for decades – she knows that New Year Resolutions are done by the end of January. Unless you write them down and give them a timeframe, your long term goals are just hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Watch Claire and hear how best to achieve those goals you so desire.

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