What foundations are you laying for the future?

 Yesterday, as I dropped my eldest child off to spend a month with a group of strangers in another continent, I experienced a multitude of emotions from tremendous anxiety and worry to pride. My worries ranged from concerns about her safety, her health and wellbeing, about being so far away from home… to immense pride about her sense of adventure, curiosity, motivation and commitment in wanting to do this and making it happen.

I know that it would be pointless to worry about things that I cannot control or influence so I am taking comfort in the knowledge that the foundations that we (parents, family, school, community…) have built and laid will stand her in good stead. I also recognise that no matter how much ‘preparation’ she would have had, she will not always get it right, will make mistakes and will find some aspects challenging. These situations will test her resilience and will be learning opportunities for her growth and development.

I try to reassure myself by reflecting on what these foundations are and came up with some, including:

  • Being brought up with a set of values and beliefs and being part of whole
  • Raised in a safe trusting environment where she can ask awkward questions, disagree and put her own perspectives forward
  • Having a supportive environment in which mistakes can be made
  • Having a voice, being heard and listened to
  • As the years have progressed have taken on more stretching assignments from joining the school orchestra to participating in the Duke of Edinburgh award
  • Having exposure to role models who lead by example and talk about their own learning and mistakes

As I am writing this I am thinking how my  family / system is not that different from an organisation. There are similarities and transferable learning.

How are you as a leader developing your own talent factory and facilitating learning in your organisation? This is what I have learnt and would like to share them with you:

1. Be a role model who demonstrates that you also need to learn and develop. Identify, recognise and value your own strengths and talents and be proactive in helping others to find and develop theirs

2. Provide stretching assignments to help staff grow and develop. Encourage employees to seek out challenges where they can develop without feeling that if they make mistakes it will not hamper their career or job?

3. Your organisation is the best learning programme. Create opportunities for people to come together to find solutions to real problems, challenges and  issues

4. Build trust, foster inquiry and dialogue, making it safe for people to openly share experiences, concerns and failures

5. Reinforce  learning by celebrating not only outcomes and successes but also learning

6. Communicate and reinforce your values and help employees link their daily tasks and responsibilities to the values in the organization. Ensure that staff understand that what they do is important and how it contributes to organisational success

7. Provide opportunities for social networking within the organisation to foster sense of belonging, being part of a whole and in developing trust

How are you as a leader developing your own talent factory and facilitating learning in your organisation?

How are you as a parent laying the foundations for the future?

 What experiences and strategies can you share?

 Images from Google images

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About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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4 Responses to What foundations are you laying for the future?

  1. Tilla Brook says:

    Great post. I love the way in which you link the personal with the professional, so often they are de-linked. I’d love to use this with a group of new leaders I’m working with in a couple of weeks time – may I? with full attribution of course.

    • verawoodhead says:

      Thank you Tilla. I am on a mission to show that leadership and learning is all around us and what we learn in one context can be used in another. It builds authencity, makes our values consistent, utilises our strengths…Please do use with your leaders – how great would it be if we are maxixmising our strengths and talents in all situations and contexts – better parents, better leaders (my new slogan)

  2. Hi Vera love your connection between sense of family at home and at work. For me, the key foundation at home is to keep open, honest communication with our kids, especially as they enter teenage years. We give them the time and space to voice their own questions, opinions and concerns. Also to listen to others without judgement (more challenging that one!). I hope we will stay close and they will have great communication skills. And from what I’ve seen when coaching and mediating for companies – that’s a foundation that’s worth laying ..!

    • verawoodhead says:

      Thank you Clare. You have shared some valuable tips here and think you have hit the nail on the head about commmunication and dialogue. Listening and ‘seeing’ without judging is one of those that many adults find challenging so to develop these skills when young is crucial.

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