Category: Change and transition

3D Juggling 590: Confusion

Claire writes: “Clarity might be important when we communicate with other people – but when we are trying to work something out, too much clarity too soon might mean we have missed something.  A client once told me that ‘Confusion is the prelude to understanding’.  It really can be a gift – if we can hold our nerve!

Think about it…”

© 2012 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to

3D Juggling 580: Grids and Triangles

Claire writes: “Jane was joking the other day that if a diagram isn’t a grid, a triangle or a Venn diagram, we won’t use it!  I’ve just been reading Visual Meetings by David Sibbert who talks about using graphics more effectively.

One idea of his really connected with a recent email I received when someone said they were going into a new job and did we have any tips for the first few months?

David Sibbert has a grid for you.  Four squares:  Impact (high and low) and Effort (easier and harder)

Draw it – where would you start?  Think about it…”

© 2012 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to

Positive Deviance

Su writes: I’ve been caught up in an interesting book: “The Power of Positive Deviance” by Pascale, Sternin and Sternin. Positive deviants, as outlined in the book, are those people who are working and living in the same set of circumstances and constraints as the rest of us, but that manage to succeed where others don’t. Immediately, possible scenarios spring to mind where this thinking might be applicable. This whole workforce is working under the posible threat of redundancy: how do some individuals still manage to be productive while others aren’t? All churches face similar constraints in terms of resources, time and money: how are some flourishing while others struggle? The key examples described in this book are about serious healthcare problems: malnutrition in children in Vietnam, female circumcision in Egypt. Rather than going in as the hero of the hour with education programmes and pamphlets, the authors instead worked with the communities in order to support them seeing who was doing things differently, how they were doing it and  allowing the community  to take responsibility for enacting these practices .

It sounds simple. But it isn’t done enough in organisations. The “top” feels the need to identify problems and find solutions, investing money in whizzy ways of communicating these. But actually devolving this responsibility to those actually doing the jobs is more effective. Scary, possibly, for those at the “top” who would like to control things, but far more effective in identifying the need for change and really making it happen. Do you remember the “our people are our greatest asset” mantra that companies used as a strap line in the nineties? Well I think this consideration of positve deviance may well be a way of making that aspiration live.

I wonder how it would in your organisation?

3D Juggling 555: Why didn’t they do it?

Jane writes: “At the end of a management development programme I attended many years ago the facilitator drew a tombstone on the flip chart which bore the legend ‘Knew it but didn’t do it’.  The message was clear – go out and put what you’ve learned into practice!  Knowing what to do and how to do it isn’t enough, but taking action can often be really difficult.

When we work with clients we help them to explore alternative ideas and solutions.  We assume that these exist and encourage them to consider this by asking ‘what else?’ until no more emerge.  Sometimes we’ll contribute a suggestion to encourage more thinking – although it’s only ever a suggestion, never a proposal.  When they come up with something and then dismiss is, we ask ‘why not?’ or ‘what would make that possible?’ The more options, the more likely that they’ll find one, or a combination of them, that they can really commit to undertaking.  And then we’ll help them to work out how to make it happen.  Then they do it.

This involves Creating Awareness and Designing Actions, numbers 8 and 9 of the ICF Core Competencies

What aren’t you applying?  Think about it…”

© 2012 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to

3D Juggling 514: Appropriate Luggage

Claire writes: I was talking to someone last week who said: ‘We need to recognise that transition is a permanent state for my organisation and stop waiting for it to end’.  It got me thinking about travelling!  Even when you listen to the story of Moses and the Israelites getting out of Egypt, transition was a travelling mode.  People on gap years manage to get everything they need into a rucksack and then stay wherever they chose – or can.  They’re really flexible to what arises.  I always used to travel with a Swiss Army knife and a sarong.  They’re useful for anything! Carry a rucksack and a small tent and you can choose to move fast or stay for a while.

Contrast that to last week’s TV footage of travellers trying to get out of Egypt. Their huge suitcases probably contain almost nothing that is useful to an extended stay in an airport. They may have packed for a hotel holiday to see the pyramids or the coast. And when you cannot return to the hotel, you have a problem.

What would you begin to do differently if you recognise that transition is a permanent state for your context?  Think about it…

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to

Permanent Transition?
Last week’s survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said that 20% of UK workers fear for their jobs.  In the public sector, that figure rises to nearly one in three workers.

CIPD calls on managers to demonstrate high-quality leadership in order to raise morale and engagement in the workplace. The quarterly survey illustrated the extent to which employees are concerned about their standard of living “as inflation continues to erode the real value of wages”.

Almost a third of those surveyed said their standard of living had got worse over the last six months. compared with just 10% who said it had improved.

“If organisations don’t invest in developing high-performing managers, they may find better managed competitors racing past on the road to recovery,” said CIPD’s Ben Willmott. “Employers need to find cost-effective ways of equipping their line managers with the people management skills to support employee engagement and wellbeing.”

3D Juggling 506: The great lie

Jane writes: “According to a leading business expert speaking this week ‘Britain would flourish as an international trading nation outside the economic shackles of the European Union’*.  This view contradicts the key argument posed by some that leaving the EU would wreck the UK’s trade prospects.

Take a step back.  Think about some of the things the current government is aiming to do to achieve the level of savings it has committed to find, and to put customers’ at the heart of decision making about how services are delivered.   If you are involved in the design and delivery of services that have been provided by the public sector for many years, how does this feel?

What are you doing to ensure that your service, assuming it is of value, continues to be available when there’s no money to deliver it from within your current organisation?  Are you waiting to see what happens while you worry about the impact that leaving the ‘safety’ of the public sector may have on you?  Or are you talking with the other people and organisations that are, or could, be interested in what you do, with the intention of finding new and sustainable ways of doing it?

Received wisdom may be that there’s a need for your service, that you know best how to deliver it, and that customers want it to be delivered by you – that’s there’s no better alternative.  That may be a great lie.  Your service may be able to flourish independently.  You probably know how to make this happen, although you may need some help to work out how. And if you’re in the church or voluntary sector, who do you need to be talking to now?

We have worked with many individuals and teams to help them develop alternative futures.  How could we help you?

*Quote from Ruth Lea, Economist and Director of Global Vision.

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to

3D Juggling 504: The shocking truth about waste

Jane writes: “In the paper today (19 Nov 2010) was an article titled: ‘The shocking truth of Whitehall waste’.  This waste included £26,000 spent on training staff how to have difficult conversations. The training was designed to ‘help staff have increased confidence and capability’.  Unfortunately it didn’t say for what purpose – the specific difference that this investment was intended to achieve.

OK, there are other ways that increased confidence and capability could be achieved. And we all need to find ways that have no cost, or very little cost, for our organisations/customers.

Maybe this is all about choices. Do we help staff to have conversations about the things they need to be talking about or, by not doing so, allow them to keep avoiding difficult issues for fear of the consequences? And these consequences are likely to be for them and for others. What if they are being bullied or harassed? What if their ideas are being stolen? How about when they discover things that could damage their organisation’s reputation?

There are many interesting and challenging situations and behaviours emerging in organisations as they face austerity measures. It’s not easy to tell people about the need to fundamentally change the service they have been providing for many years, or about redundancies.

So, do we help people learn how to have difficult conversations safely? Or do we all suffer the consequences — which include all the time that gets wasted on trying to avoid the inevitable and recover when it happens?

Tell us what you think, and share a coffee with us to ask us how we can support you in finding ways of working with your organisation, or your customers, in ways that are affordable and deliver recognised improvements.”

2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to

3D Juggling 480: Stormy Weather Forecast

Last Monday, the UK government announced a £6 billion cut in public spending. As a result, we are a offering free place at our Career Makeover event on 5 June to anyone whose job is at risk as a result of that announcement.

Claire writes: ‘The fallout from the recession is still affecting the private sector. Cuts in public funding will mean that the public sector is also in for a stormy future. How do you lead in a time of uncertainty?

We were thinking about this a few days ago and playing with the idea of swimming safely in a stormy sea:

  • Which waves do you choose to ride, which do you avoid?
  • Where is the lifeguard?
  • What was your lifejacket look like?
  • How do you learn to swim with the tide and keep safe?
  • Where are the most helpful channels and currents?
  • Who else is in the water with you? Panicking swimmers can pull others down. Sharks circle groups of people, rather than attacking them.
  • If you’re going to be in the water for a long time, do you need a wetsuit? Or goose fat?
  • What you need to do now to make sure there will be a lifeguard on the beach?

You certainly can’t hope that the storm isn’t happening.

In the sea, you identify and draw on whatever resources are available to remain safe, and try to travel to land effectively. What resources can you identify and draw on now to remain effective in your organisation? Other people need to absorb some of the work which will need to continue post-cuts. What needs to happen to manage that in a way which honours the work, the staff, and the customer?

How rough is your sea?’

Love this? If this is the reality in your organisation and you’d like to talk about how to support staff through the transition, call us and we can meet for a coffee. It’s on us!

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to


3D Juggling 420: Change of scene

Claire writes: ‘One of the most remarkable things about sleeping under the stars in the desert is that the panorama in the sky when you fall asleep is totally different from the one you see on waking in the night. As you sleep, everything moves! That’s how it felt last Wednesday to hear from , our charity for this year. They left a message to say that Cadbury’s are going to make Dairy Milk fair trade. Now that one of the major producers has made that commitment, it seems much more hopeful that the others will follow. Once the change is made later in the year, it will take time to get used to buying Cadbury’s again!

Often we chip at change with seemingly few results. And then something happens and change comes in like a pile of dominoes falling over. I spoke to someone who wrote a letter a week in an attempt to find a more fulfilling job. After two years, her mission was successful and someone commented that the job had ‘landed in her lap’. That’s what it looked like! But it was a response to a long term mission. And when the change comes, however much it has been hoped for, it can take time to catch up with where we are now.’

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to

3D Juggling 355: Taking up the role

Diane writes: Last week I took part in an exercise where I was given a sheet of paper with five concentric circles. Between the edge of each circle and in the very centre there was space to write. I was invited to write words in each of the circles that describe me. The facilitator pointed out that each time we do an exercise like this we will put words in different places, those closest to the centre are the most important descriptors each time we do it. I really enjoyed the exercise and was interested to see which words were closest to the centre. Suddenly a new word leapt into my brain, “Mother-in Law”.

Two weeks ago we celebrated our younger daughter’s wedding. It was a truly splendid affair which everyone tells me they enjoyed immensely. There was a very moving piece in the ceremony where the officiant helped my husband to hand over our daughter into the new relationship. There was all kinds of symbolism to be seen in the way each person’s hands were linked. For me at that moment a new family unit was created. I became a “Mother-in-Law” and I have to work out with our daughter and her husband what that role will involve.

It is not often that we are reminded in such a wonderful and dramatic way about taking up a new role. It made me stop to reflect how often in the past I have failed to notice I am taking up a new role and perhaps not given it the attention it deserved. I feel it is worth asking ourselves the question everyday, “Who am I today? What roles do I need to prepare for?” I shall certainly be paying attention to how I take up my new role as “Mother-in Law”; it is one which needs to be worked at!

(c) 2007 3D Coaching Ltd