I attended a leadership offsite a few weeks ago at Tylney Hall. Like all of Britain, there are few locations which do not have generations of history and I continue to marvel. The history of Tylney Hall:

Tylney Hall is a Grade II listed mansion with beautiful gardens of significant historic interest. Stroll along the Vista lined with giant redwoods – it offers the longest, uninterrupted view of the Hampshire countryside; inhale the heady fragrance in the Rose Garden; trail your fingers in the exquisite Water Gardens; and enjoy the view of the lake from the boathouse bridge. The current house dates from 1898 and served as a hospital during the First World War, later becoming a private school.

A few pics (via low quality cell phone):



The event was well facilitated and I took away a few great leadership / management tidbits to ponder, leverage, implement:

  • The meeting stated with a great slide around ground rules: be present, be bold, be engaged and focus on what we can do.
  • The following quote struck me as very true: ‘Leaders get the culture they behave’. How many times have we seen this come to fruition? I choose a culture of big goals, customer first, competing aggressively, taking risks to innovate – drive breakthroughs and celebrating each other’s success.
    • Ghandi said it well ‘Be the change you want to see’. The question we all have to ask is – what do I need to change first?
  • Another quote struck me: ‘Leadership begins when we stop blaming others and making excuses’ (The Wise Fool’s Guide to Leadership, Peter Hawkins 2005)
    • This was centered around feedback and offered one great little rule – start all responses to feedback with a thank-you. What a great way to ensure that people feel comfortable enough with helping you get better.
    • There was also a point made around leaders. As leaders, if our leader is struggling we need to step up and stop complaining and take responsibility for his/her weaknesses and make them successful. An interesting comment that was once put to me as follows when I was complaining about my manager ‘What are you going to do to make them successful?’
    • On the topic of 360 feedback, the speaker stated that one of the biggest mistakes he sees is when people say ‘I don’t want to do the 360 yet, people don’t know me well enough yet’. On the contrary, this is the BEST time for a 360 – to capture those early perceptions and shape the opinion. Interesting viewpoint.
  • On the topic of corporate gossip, when someone is talking about someone else the speaker suggested you say ‘What did he/she say when you told him?’
    • What a great way to stop corridor conversations and ensuring that people are committed to helping each other. No one benefits if they don’t here about what they are doing wrong.
  • People often come up to me and say ‘I have a problem’ and I will spend a lot of time listening. The speaker made an interesting point ‘The closest person is not always the right person to solve the problem’. To be more effective, perhaps the conversation can be cut shorter by asking ‘What do you need from me to solve the problem?’ Sounds very One Minute Manager like …
    • The speaker went on to say that in most organizations there are too many problems going up the ranks and solutions coming down the ranks. As leaders, we need to be pushing to have those problems solved faster and more efficiently by not coming up the chain (by empowering our people to solve problems, find solutions and close out issues without constant interaction). We need vision and opportunities coming down from the top .. to challenge people to reach that next big growth spurt.
  • The ‘E’ test: Put out your dominant index finger and write an E on your forehead (do it before reading below)
    • If your E faces left it is for others to see, and you are relationship focused.
    • If the E faces right it is for yourself, you are more inwardly focused.
  • My E faced left.

    • At one point we discussed what makes a great leader. Tichy and Devanna (1986) listed transformational leaders as exhibiting the following:
      • They clearly see themselves as change agents
      • They are courageous
      • They believe in people
      • They are driven by a strong set of values
      • They are life-long learners
      • They can cope with complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity
      • They are visionaries
  • As leaders, our most important task every day is motivation – to help people raise their game every day. So true.
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