“The great storytellers have an unfair competitive advantage,”1» said Bill Gurley, partner at Benchmark, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm which led investments in Snapchat, Uber, Instagram or Dropbox. This strong affirmation underlines the fact that those who master the art of federating around stories benefit from a considerable advantage. Would this be a sign of leadership?
These past weeks, I was struck by the repetition of a sentence, which spontaneously appeared during different coaching sessions, with clients of various profiles. They had a common point, though: being confronted with the complexity of change of different scales, trying to understand why they felt shaken up, slowed down, or lost. And they finally confined in: “I know that I must mourn the past”: grieving a time gone by, acknowledging an non-modifiable data of their environment, accepting a colleague or a manager’s departure, or life changes, provoked or undergone.
Many companies are longing for THE best idea to develop their business or create new opportunities, and they logically rely on creative process, such as design thinking for example. However, apart from business departments “used to creativity”, it’s quite useful to learn how to manage creative profiles. Some people will tell you this is not as easy as it seems.
Creative people have their own motivation factors, sometimes puzzling. Understanding and accepting these particularities is a major point, as it requires being able to align their personal goals with the ambition of the project or the business, in a meaningful manner.
At first, a strong dose of intuition will be of great help, as intuition helps taking into account weak signals of human communication. Managers can also rely of four simple principles.
Your organization insists on management principles such as “engagement”, “synergy”, “collective intelligence” or “agility”, and your HR policies and tools are on the way or already implemented to create an “employee experience”. And yet, my experience as a business coach enables me to outline today’s frequent shortage of recognition within companies: the capacity to recognize sincerely, with humanity and simplicity the quality of the work done, in all its dimensions. Sometimes, companies invest in “manager coach” training programs, to contribute to a “change in attitude”. It’s true, it may help…
Because we often lack being thanked, let’s take our inspiration from the classical pillars of sustainability, to create engagement with simple and daily actions, and therefore magnify the power of recognition.
You’ve sent all your best wishes, and have decided, at last, to change “something” this year, and to take some good resolutions! Your decision is made, you will implement a few things that will contribute to make this new year different, motivating, healthy, with different human relations, or a capacity to step back… As people say, good resolutions are like eels, the devil lies in holding them tight!
“Life is about making choices, and choosing means eliminating”1aiming at work-life balance, by Sophie Audubert-Todorovic.
Let’s assume that you’ve already read many management and leading change theories: change curve is a classic concept, you’ve identified the reasons for resistance and access to autonomy, you’ve spent some time surfing the internet about emotional intelligence, various communication techniques, collaborative management…You are aware of the hiring of some Chief Happiness Officers (C.H.O.) and are convinced that there is more to life than the raw pursuit of profit. As my clients, you are capable of “analyzing what’s going on”, however not sufficient this might be. What could we do?
The “Mannequin Challenge” viewed by a business coach? By Sophie Audubert-Todorovic
As probably many of you did, I received regular messages on business social networks proudly announcing: “Have a look at our own mannequin challenge!” A click later, I had the surprise to discover… students, workers, managers, standing still in a professional attitude meant to show, thanks to non-verbal codes, the essential of their activity or their pleasure while working or learning, the challenge consisting in not moving during the video shooting. Of course, it’s another new web trend, probably nicer for their actors than the one consisting of filming oneself turning an ice-bucket over one’s head… I wondered what Louis Daguerre, the inventor of the process of photography, would say of this funny idea… remembering he asked his own model to stay immobile during hours to have a sharp picture, which made their smiles disappear.
Looking after yourself or egocentrism? by Sophie Audubert-Todorovic
Today, at the different levels of an organization, in global business environment, the values of cooperation, collaboration, sharing, listening and empathy are spread, as if it was essential to put forward the right way “to care about others”, particularly in a management position. To create a quality of work life, people insist on caring skills. And it is for sure legitimate, as it has been widely proved by various schools of thoughts, from sociology to neurosciences. Read more
Succeeding in career transition & time issues1 – Moving from “looking for an opportunity” to employment? The different time zones of professional transition, by Sophie Audubert-Todorovic.
At last! Time for pleasure
The first spontaneous reaction in the first joyful weeks after leaving a job for a better one to be found is relief. You are encouraged to profit from this precious time, as if you were free of any daily time constraints and a busy schedule. It’s time for rest, making what you had promised yourself to do when you would have time do so come true. Aiming at a bright and a better future, you feel enthusiastic. Relying on your positive energy, you dream of many professional opportunities, more or less defined.
Let’s go! Time for seriousness
Holidays don’t last forever, and you realize that you have to join the active crowd’s pace. It’s the time of good resolutions: come on, let’s look for a job! You update your profile on social networks, rewrite your resume, give a few phone calls to reconnect with your ex-colleagues (Have you noticed how busy they are to grant you a lunch meeting before 3 weeks?). You spend hours on websites, forums, you read plenty of job ads… a little MOOC here, a little TEDx conference there… With all this time you invest in working again, something will happen for sure ! This serious occupation sometimes come across a reminiscence of the previous time (by the way, since you have some time, could you…) or by your own authorization to postpone…to another day. The good news is: you get regular positive feedbacks, what an active jobseeker you are!
Silence….Time for doubt and lack of confidence
Insidiously, without you ever notifying it, comes the time of doubt2… Very few or no answers to your application, recruitment process not going through, professional lunch regularly postponed, you feel tired of fighting with the same enthusiasm… you spend inefficient hours surfing the web, you have regular conversation with your little inner voice “yes, that’s a job for you, for sure, this time, it will work”. You re-arrange your resume to match some job descriptions, read again your application letter, you seek for various and always different advice. Your day seems longer now, and you start hearing some open or hidden critics. To the question “so, what are you doing now?” you answer “There are a few opportunities I’m considering.”
You wonder whether your career is really interesting after all… Your energy level is quite low, some people say “you are depressed”, and you do realize that it’s not really how it should be. If you pay some attention to it, you will notice that you are regularly overwhelmed by different emotions: doubt, anxiety, guiltiness, anger against an unfair environment, regrets of your former comfortable life… At home, it’s the time for reproaches, conflicts, loneliness…
Time for renewal
So, what’s next?
First step right, with a foot relying on the ground: admit the violence of the market place, the difficulty to find a job again, no matter your skills or experience. This violence is multi-factorial: discrepancy between the job offer and the profile requested, lack of possible options, a demanding selection process (a part of which is linked to the algorithms of computers, wrongly assumed to be humans gifted of good sense), opacity of the job offers as real opportunities are reserved to hidden networks… Do not take for yourself the burden of this complex world… to free yourself from feeling guilty.
Second step, the other foot forward: rise your energy level. We are… who we are! With our qualities and drawbacks, our story and our resources, which make us a singular and legitimate human beings. Reconnect with your own history, your skills, your little plus, to outline them feeling ok with it, thanks to adequate tools and attitudes that some people name “Personal Branding3.” No matter the name, as long as you are proud again of being yourself.
Third step, join your feet again: you are now aligned and ready to restart. It’s the time of a new and clear strategy, of your capacity to make choices, to manage your time or try new ideas… and all of a sudden, everything seems much easier…
You probably have guessed that these are the first three steps of a walz, that you can learn to dance slowly at first, counting. You will have to practise progressively to be able to turn around and draw attention. Time for renewal… to dance with a coach?
 For French readers & time issues: François Delivré, Les quatre visages du temps, Paris: InterEditions, 2014
 Inspired from Elisabeth Kübler Gross – Loss & Grief
 See for example William Arruda, speaker on this topic
A vivid story on the essence of a coach’s work. Back from a trip Sophie Audubert-Todorovic cunningly writes about her vision of quality coaching.