Stock Take Part One: Work

Rose Tinted Glasses

Looking Through Rose Tinted Glasses (c) R Dennison October 2013

It’s that time of the year.  British Summer Time ended on 27 October.  Stand by for Argos Christmas gift offers; wintery warming recipes on television; Top Ten lists of the year.

Meanwhile, if you are reviewing your Work-Life-Everything Else list in 2013 here is the first three posts which might help.  This part looks at actions you can take to help yourself if your focus is work (well-being and wealth will follow).


Research commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggests that ‘trust between employees and senior managers is more likely to be weak (34%) than strong (29%)… and that trust is particularly weak in the public sector (43%)’.

Seemingly some senior managers wear rose-tinted glasses when they look at their teams’ performance.  Their junior colleagues feel they can’t speak up.  That could make for unhappier workplaces.  If so that’s an unfortunate outcome, as demographic trends seem to show people working for a greater proportion of their lives before retirement.

So a couple of good stock-take questions to ask are:

How can organisational leaders display honesty and integrity to build more trust into their relationships with their employees?

What else can staff do to voice their concerns in a way that captures leaders’ attention?

Hopefully thoughtful answers to those questions can produce more trusting, and productive, workplaces.

For more on the CIPD you can visit them online at

Lighting Up The Future

A match flame

A bit of illumination (c) R Dennison October 2013

It almost goes without saying, that work plays a huge part in most people’s lives – and according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figure there are 29.87 million people in work in the UK.

However the days are long gone in which employees started work with an organisation in their 20s and stayed there until retirement four decades later.

Even a thorough PEST analysis of the political, economic, social and technological climate now could not identify the sort of jobs that will be the backbone of the economy in 2053 .

If only there was some way of being able to light up the period 40 years ahead, and know what make a future career meaningful and exciting.

I would argue (based on the people I have coached) that self-knowledge can help light up that darkness.  If you are supported in developing an understanding of: the qualities you value; the skills you offer; and the work you find stimulating you are closer to where the next few steps in your career might take you.   Having some light shed on the future makes it seem less uncertain.

The Guardian’s Work Blog sets out the quandary quite neatly.  The discussion below the line is useful too.  My comments are shown under the name RogerAD.

Steady progress

Pursuing goals can be challenging (c) R Dennison October 2013

Pursuing goals can be challenging (c) R Dennison October 2013

Last week I was waiting for a train across London just after a heavy rain shower.  Although the rain wasn’t falling the platform was alive with thirsty slugs and snails.  I was struck by the determination those molluscs were showing, as they headed to where ever they were going.  Despite the obstacles in their way they kept moving toward their goals.  They covered a fair bit of ground too, in the short space of time I spent watching them.

I think there is an analogue between that image and the coaching process.  I can think of a couple of clients whom I coached over a year where progress was steady, and purposeful rather than explosive.  Their sense of accomplishment resulted in taking actions which gave them a buzz of achievement.  Depending on the client sometimes significant coaching outcomes are most noticeable by standing back and looking at the bigger picture.

So, for one person their valuable outcome was an insight: changing their working pattern was actually their way of opening the door to a significant career change.  For the other client their major learning involved a point of clarity: structuring their time effectively – rather than going off in different directions at once – meant that there would be more time to take small, but significant, steps.  Those steps led them to make inroads on their key milestones.

Bottom line: the terrain may be difficult; the distance to travel may be great;  life planning or time management maybe challenging, but gradual progress is possible.  However close to the ground you are.

What’s Next?

Choosing a Slice of Life (c) R Dennison October 2013

Choosing a Slice of Life (c) R Dennison October 2013

Would it be great to be 25 years old again?  What if you could view the rest of your life as you did then, with every possibility still open to you?

Life would be the most delicious treat, a cake perhaps from which you have only taken one slice.  You could then make positive changes whose impact would be felt over the next 50, or 60 years.  The rest of your life could be incredibly memorable.

A query in the Guardian Work blog explores the territory of later life choices, from the vantage point of someone at the age of 55.  He is trying to find his occupational passion to improve the final part of his working life.

It makes sense to ask ‘what do I want to do now’, since the latest Office for National Statistics figures show a man of 55 can expect to live for another 12 years.  Life expectancy for women is slightly longer.

The question is, if you have the choice, what should you do with the remaining 20 per cent of your life?

You can see the below the line comments if you click the link below.  My views are shown there (I’m Roger AD) and you can see them on Twitter too (where I am RogerD_said)