acts of kindness, positive psychology and don’t mention the engagement word!

I was approached over the summer through an associate relationship I have to do some work and potentially grow an offering around the subject of resilience and wellbeing. I was asked because as an engineer by training they thought I would be both curious about some of the science as well as being quite challenging around what might be perceived as another “fluffy” topic, and possibly in danger of creating something that raises differing emotions like the “engagement word”!

So I have spent some time reading some books, playing with some  heart rate monitors, drawing loads of mind maps and creating models. I’m still at a surface level, but joining the dots, positive psychology seems to me to be the “glue” thats possibly holding it all together.

In terms of positive psychology, the writing of three good things and journaling to embed positive experiences is a consistent theme, as well as acts of kindness and expressing gratification for good deeds.

This week has been a great week in those terms and I’ve been touched by a lot of kindness toward my son Luke, and I have expressed my gratification.

Luke is a swimmer, a reasonably good one at County Level and aiming next to compete at a Midlands level, before maybe national level. Who knows!

In these last weeks, we went through a dilemma of whether we should move swimming clubs because we were unhappy with his progress at his current club. A club we had been associated with for around 7 years, my eldest had swam there, my wife had been secretary, I had been Chair taking it through some difficult times and then stepping down because I couldn’t cope with it along with another load of pressures and commitments. So a lot of personal history, some friends and foes, all mixed in with the politics of children’s clubs, which some of you might know or I guess you might imagine. Corporate life comes no where near for politics!!!

So there are three swimming clubs in our immediate area, Luke’s current club, a bigger club to whom Luke’s club is a feeder, and the other club. Well the decision we made was to join the other club which wasn’t in the script!!!

We have had some different reactions, some indifference, and probably a load of people who might be glad to see the back of us.

So the kindness which is what the story is about!

In swimming, pool time is the holy grail. Luke is 12, and if he aspires to great things he needs to be doing at least 10 hours a week in the pool, covering 1000’s of meters each week. Its gruelling, but if you aren’t putting the hours in, someone else will and they will get the times and win the medals.

By moving clubs, Luke’s pool time was threatened due to reciprocal arrangements between the clubs around sharing pool time and developing the county’s talents. But the three coaches of the respective clubs have come together this week to ensure that Luke does not lose out, they have each made some concessions and made some commitments to review arrangements.

They could have followed the rules, but they were dealing with a young lad with some talent, and they chose a different option so he didn’t lose out.

So this could be a club, a team, a business unit, a business, relationships between customers and suppliers but what I have learnt and been reminded of this week, is acting with a positive intent and regard for others results in acting with kindness. Doing the best for someone so they don’t lose out and not held back in their ambition and results.

Might not seem such a big deal, but to a 12 year old boy, its pretty important!

So I’m going back to my books, heart rate monitors and you-tube clips.

You might like this one?


The Power of Nice

I first wrote and published this blog on the 13th September 2011. A tweet by Simon Heath @SimonHeath1 prompted me to publish again!!



Its been some time since I last blogged. No excuses, just the summer and lots of exciting things to do!

So in sitting down to start to write some blogs again I came across an article I found in the Times on the 20th July – The Power of Nice, which headlined with “what do Kate Middleton, Roger Federer, Darren Clarke and Tom Pellereau (winner of the Apprentice), have in common? Its obvious. They’re Nice”

It also reminded me of some feedback my wife recieved in a part time job recently that she was far too nice, having had a very successful blue chip career before having the boys! (Interestingly, one of those companies having made her redundant due to restructuring 5 years ago have just reemployed her!)

So what is nice?

Nice is not, failing to keep track of priorities, or of listening to so many people that they end up being indecisive, someone lacking business judgement, industry expertise, or any credit with his/her own bosses and hence is incapable of providing you with the support and resources you need.

Maybe the problem is that “nice” portrays images of being walked over, being unassertive.

But maybe “nice” like the Times article suggested is treating others with respect, listening to others, being acountable for what they do, are courteous, deliver, apologise when necessary, are cheerful, authentic, dedicated, warm and pleasure to be around.

Would you not want to work for someone who is nice? and I wonder if thats how you would like others to talk about you?

So my challenge is lets starting having a different conversation about leadership, and lets make “nice” OK!

I would welcome your thoughts and comments.