Saturday, 3 December 2011

Winning Ways

Sorry for my radio silence over the past ten days.  As some of you know, I’m not always very good at keeping stum; my enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of me.   Indeed there have been times when I wish I’d listened and paid closer attention, rather than leaping in with both size fives.  It is important to be aware of how an individual will respond to you, as well as the message you wish to get across.  The following humourous film clip works because the makers knew that people are not good at focusing on more than one thing at a time, especially when asked to concentrate on something specific.  Mind you, even I would probably be more alert than some of the people in this video:

I demonstrated my eagerness getting the better of me last week, when I was taking part in an excellent team development day run by Rob Jones (former Global Head of L&D at Mothercare).  Rob is one of the leading lights at Trainer’s Kitbag ( and he and some other global experts in Learning and Development have devised, amongst other things, a great outdoor version of Monopoly which takes people away from the conventional, indoor training environment and hence encourages more natural responses and behaviours.  I am ambitious and, in my haste to score a much needed point, I was nearly the downfall of my team.  I did not pay close enough attention to the phrasing of a task and hence almost rushed us off on a wild goose chase.  It was a good thing that there were others there to challenge me.  Short term gains, at the expense of longer term, sustainable results and true value creation, are topical themes at the moment.  If only more people had been brave enough to speak up and challenge others when they spotted potential risks to the business and customers, then perhaps we would not be in quite such an economic mess globally.

I don’t want to say too much about my day playing Monopoly, as to do so could damage the experience and learnings for you.  Despite the simplicity of the concept, it had been very cleverly thought through ,to ensure maximum returns.  The game can be used in a variety of ways, such as to:

·         encourage self-awareness;

·         demonstrate team dynamics;

·         develop bonds and collaboration amongst strangers who need to work together;

·         ascertain individual and team reactions to setbacks and to build resilience;

·         provide a window for leaders and managers to understand their teams;

·         enable people to try out new leadership styles in a “safe environment”; and to

·         foster certain desirable behaviours and highlight less effective approaches.

If you want to know more (and see some photos from our session) click on this link:

By way of an explanation for my silence, I have been very busy tying up loose ends and preparing myself for a fantastic new role.  I have just joined Stonehage, an amazing Group founded in 1976, whose business model is entirely dependent on trust and understanding.  What a gift for an HR professional – an environment where we have to ensure that the internal culture matches the approach and service provided to clients.  That’s not to say it will be easy – to be exemplary I and my team need to demonstrate amongst other things:

·         True understanding and empathy;

·         Commercial perception;

·         An attention to detail;

·         Being professional at all times;

·         Sensitivity as required;

·         A willingness to challenge, so as to enable improved outcomes;

·         In-depth expertise and the knowledge of how to apply it effectively;

·         Strong communication skills; and

·         A readiness to go the extra mile (with a smile).

All of these traits were required on the Monopoly Day – not only was it great preparation for me (getting my head into the right space and reminding myself of things I need to watch out for in my new role) but also it makes me wonder if it could be the way for me to kick off my working relationship with my new team and colleagues.  Perhaps the best thing I could do would be to let them become silver Boots and Cars for a day…


  1. Your post made md the opening and clarity. Hugs

  2. wow! Sounds like a fabulous organisation to work in!

    Love the idea of the Monopoly game, some of the most profound learning I've had is on experiential "games". Where I've had experiences of working with teams, making mistakes. Being called on those mistakes and learning from them!

    Good Luck in your new role :)

  3. Love the post Kate - I'm still chuckling about the attention to detail video!

    Also interesting to see the connection between exemplary team behaviours and the Monopoly game... What a great way to both develop working relationships and model the exemplary behaviours for the team & organisation.