Newsletter 34 – January 2007
Welcome to the 34th edition of our newsletter “In Equilibrium“. We hope you enjoy reading it and, as ever, would welcome your comments.
Please remember: We encourage you to forward this newsletter to colleagues. Hundreds of organisations are now distributing the “In Equilibrium” newsletter to their staff and we currently have over 30,000 subscribers!
Please feel free to post this newsletter on your companies intranet – the more the merrier!
Contents: Edition 34
- In Equilibrium news
- In Equilibrium Tip of the Month
- Book review: Charles Handy: Myself and Other More Important Matters
- Stress in the News
- Events: HSE Stress Programme – Free Workshop, Carecall Ireland Residential Course, CIPD Conference for Managers
- Stress Case Study – Conflict Resolution
- In Equilibrium Consultant Profile – Sue Butterfield
- Your feedback – Book to be won – send us your thoughts!
1. In Equilibrium News
We thought you might be interested to know a few facts about In Equilibrium and some of our achievements during the last 5 years:
- Delivered in excess of 500 public training courses throughout the UK
- Provide regular email resources to over 30,000 opt-in subscribers
- Developed a comprehensive website full of resources which receives an average of 25,972 hits per month
- Provided in-house training and consultancy for over 300 organisations
- Organised and presented 4 major conferences on Stress and Wellbeing
- Developed a range of in-house training courses on Stress and Wellbeing
- Established a team of 12 specialist Consultants located throughout the UK
“Champions know that success is inevitable; that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. They know that the best way to forecast the future is to create it.”
Michael J Gelb, Author, Speaker and Consultant
“Never mistake motion for action”
Ernest Hemingway, Writer, 1899-1961
“Life can only be understood backward but it must be lived forward”
Soren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher, Theologian 1813-1855
“Minds are like parachutes – they function only when open”
James Dewar, Chemist and Physicist 1842-1923
3. In Equilibrium tip of the month
January is conventionally a time when we consider dieting and improving our physical health following the excesses of December. Whilst getting into better physical shape, consider the rewards better mental and emotional shape could bring. Incorporating some new habits into your life in 2007 could reduce stress as well as increasing your happiness and overall life satisfaction.
Websites we thought you might be interested in:
An excellent database of activities happening in the UK including running, climbing, triathalon and walking timeoutdoors.com/events
5. Book Review
Myself and Other More Important Matters – Charles Handy
Random House ISBN:0434013463
The New Philanthropists Charles Handy, Photography by Elizabeth Handy
Random House ISBN: 0434013455
Many of you will know of Charles Handy, author of “The Emply Raincoat” and many other management books. He has sold over a million copies of his books throughout the world. He also often contributes to Radio 4’s “Thought for the day”.
I was lucky to see him at the Edinburgh Book Festival last summer and found him to be a really interesting character. He is self-effacing, which appeals to me, particularly when the person is often talked about as a “guru”. Although I do tend to get over excited at these sort of events, and he had the audience in the palm of his hand before he even turned up, both myself and my sister bought his book before we left. OK I can be a compulsive buyer, but the sister tends to put more thought into these things and it was definitely the ideas discussed in the short session that won us both over.
I bought “Myself and Other More Important Matters”, which is more of a biography, in it Handy looks at the turning points in his own long and successful life. When I say ‘successful’ I mean ‘happy’. Happiness radiates from this guy.
His own life experiences include, being a young Shell executive in Borneo, being involved in the start of the London Business School, and, as a management consultant, talking to people all over the world about how they want to manage their lives.
Ultimately his questioning of his own life makes the reader look at their own; What do we really value? Is it money? Time? Family and Community? What is the role of work in our lives? What do we find fulfilling?
My sister bought “The New Philanthropists: The New Generosity” which includes photography by Elizabeth Handy, his wife.
This book has 23 chapters each one an interview with what the Handy’s describe as “practical philanthropists”, men and women who have made their own fortunes and decided to move on from financial success to try to help those in need. At the beginning of each chapter is a portrait photograph of the person referred to in the chapter and a still life of 5 objects and one flower that symbolise what is most important to them in their lives.
These “practical philanthropists” include; Tony Adams, footballer, David Ross co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, Gordon Roddick of the Body Shop and Daniel Petre, ex Microsoft.
He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really warmed to Charles Handy when I saw him, and his books and choice of subject matter have lived up to expectations raised on a sunny day last August in Charlotte Square.
6. Stress in the News
In this section we give you links to recent articles in the press that we have found interesting:
Government Drive to Encourage Healthy Workplaces Needs to go Further
Steve Bevan and David Coats of the Work Foundation discuss that, although welcome, the Government’s proposals to encourage employers to create healthy workplaces don’t go far enough and believe that a re-think into the way workers work is required.
Don’t let stress break your company’s back
Sharon Adams considers stress at work from an employer’s perspective and suggests various ideas for organisations to try.
Well-being in the workplace and its relationship to business outcomes
The authors discuss how workplace well-being and performance are not independent. They conclude that they are complimentary and dependent components of a financially and psychologically healthy workplace.
HSE Stress Programme – Free Workshop aimed at Financial Sector
Date: Wednesday 7th March 2007
We thought you may be interested to know about a free workshop particularly targeted at senior human resources practitioners in the financial sector.
The HSE have advised us that the first series of stress workshops are now completed, and went very well. The feedback received from delegates was very encouraging, and they have therefore decided to hold a further workshop (in the same format as the earlier events) on 7th March 2007, in London Docklands.
In total they held seven of the free ‘Healthy Workplace Solutions’ workshops, and delegates from 148 organisations attended. In addition to receiving expert guidance and practical advice aimed at helping their organisation implement successful absence management policies, and discussing issues involving employee wellbeing and stress, they also had the opportunity to listen to case studies from businesses such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and Bradford & Bingley.
If anyone is interested in attending the workshop on 7th March, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org stating their name and organisation.
Many thanks to Tom Parry at the HSE Stress Programme for providing us with this information.
Carecall Residential Course: Fired Up Not Burnt Out
Dates: 15th and 16th Feb, 1st and 2nd March, 15th and 16th March
Life Changing two-day residential courses at the Hilton Hotel Templepatrick aimed at high flyers across all business sectors.
This course provides the opportunity for delegates to recognise the impact stress can have, review and revise current coping strategies, talk through specific issues on a one-to-one with a life coach, learn performance enhancement techniques, deal more effectively with personal stress levels and be able to coach others to help avoid burnout.
Many thanks to Jackie Trainor from Carecall for giving us the details.
CIPD conference: Stress and the Role of Line Managers
Date: 21st March 2007
Research commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive and the CIPD, shows that managers’ behaviour can have an impact on employees’ stress levels. This one-day conference explores the behaviours managers need to demonstrate in order to manage stress in others and also what HR needs to do to support them.
Who should attend: people management and development professionals with responsibility for managing stress and reducing absence, occupational health practitioners and those with responsibility for employee well-being, health and safety practitioners and stress management professionals, HR professionals with a responsibility for employee relations, line managers.
Speakers: among the high quality of speakers is Emma Donaldson-Feilder who regularly delivers In Equilibrium training and consultancy. Emma is working with the HSE on the Stress Management Competences research project.
8. Stress Case Study – Conflict Resolution
Background and brief
Our client had a situation where a manager and his assistant were breaking their working relationship to a point where neither spoke directly to each other, and their performance was reduced to being poor. Both parties had been employed by the same organisation from 18 to 30 years; one was male, the other female; both in middle years with plenty of good working experience between them. Their situation was affecting other staff.
The brief was to solve the problem.
Our approach was to review the whole situation, including the history, context and to gain as wide a perspective on the issues as possible within reasonable bounds. The two central employees concerned were extensively interviewed, as were their managers and the chief executive. Some psychometric and personality assessments were undertaken to determine personality contrasts and levels of stress and functioning of the two central figures. The possibility of depression in one was considered, tested and eliminated.
One had very high and persistent stress levels; the other had none.
The level of commitment and trust to the organisation was different between the two central employees; one had several enforced changes in career; the other was able to develop working patterns over time and made personal contributions to the job.
One consistently apologised to the other over shortcomings in undertaking their role, but failed to alter behaviour resulting in a very high level of frustration in the other, which eventually led to the breakdown.
Solutions included re-defining expectations of one party on the other and entering into a personal contract between them, to be monitored by a senior manager; another was to refocus one on a job for which skills were already acquired; another was to change the jobs of both and to ensure that they were appropriately assessed for any new job to ensure they had the required skills and ability.
Our clients agreed to establish a personal contract between the manager and assistant, with the support of ourselves. This proved very successful, and has resulted in a harmonious working relationship of the kind which the parties experienced in their earlier days. Their behaviour towards each other has improved to a point of renewed friendship, and their work performance has increased beyond that experienced earlier. Morale amongst the staff affected by the events has become very positive since this work has been completed, largely as a reflection of the positive outcome between the two people concerned. Staff seem very pleased at the outcome, and have supported the individuals in their recovery.
To find out more about the ways we can help your organisation resolve conflict please contact us.
9. In Equilibrium Consultant Profile
We now have 12 consultants working throughout the UK and thought you might be interested to know a little more about them.
Susan is a professional coach, trainer and consultant with over 20 years experience in Management Development, Communication, Stress Management and Well-being. She has also designed and delivered courses in Leadership Skills, Delegation, Recruitment, Change Management and Team Dynamics.
With experience of operating at senior level across both the private and public sector, she has a proven track record working with businesses, effectively identifying employees training needs and designing and delivering appropriate solutions to facilitate organisational development. She has experience of working within local government, specifically local authorities and councils. This broad sector experience enables her to relate and understand the dynamics of organisations she is working with and Susan feels this makes a real difference.
With a passion for learning and personal growth, she loves to see others develop and improve their performance. Her focus is on enabling others to work towards the professional and personal life that they desire and more importantly, to enjoy the journey along the way.
Her considerable experience has brought many successes – not to mention having some fun along the way. One example was whilst delivering a course in a theatre in Yorkshire. Suddenly, the entrance to the room was broken down, followed by a team of armed Special Force Officers dressed in full combat and riot gear. Without explanation, they proceeded to maraud round the room, hanging out of windows, boarding up exits, and body searching the delegates! Susan’s first response was – “this is a practical joke” – and responded to them accordingly! The reality was, the band of the Royal Coldstream Guards were performing at the Theatre that evening and they were carrying out a security check.
Susan ‘walks her talk’ – continually researching and updating her own skills and capabilities. Her style and approach to training is interactive, innovative and ensures each delegate has a clear ‘action plan’ of how they will implement their learning.
Individuals say that Susan challenges their thinking, gives them new insights on old perspectives and is always supportive. Businesses say that Susan is professional, creative, helps people to feel valued and is focused on organisational performance improvement.
Sue is a consultant for Equilibrium and delivers many training courses. Please contact us if you would like further information.
10. Your Feedback – Win a PRIZE
Please let us know what you think about this edition of “In Equilibrium”. We would be very interested to know which items you liked, anything you didn’t like/read and also any suggestions you have for future editions. To entice you, we are offering a prize of a copy of the reviewed book “Myself and other more important matters” by Charles Handy for the most apt and original comment received (in our opinion, of course!).