Saturday, 5 December 2015

Illuminate Your Stars and Let Your Diamonds Shine

Day 6 (Sunday 6th December 2015)

6 shells have a special significance for the Yoruba of Nigeria.
If a man is attracted to someone he sends 6 shells (the Yoruba word 
means both "six" and also "attracted" or "to draw near or close");
if the object of affection is favourably inclined they respond
with 8 shells, to say 
ejo meaning both "eight" and "I agree".

The wonderful post for today has been provided by Donna Hewitson. It is a positive and uplifting read, emphasising the importance of appreciating and nurturing potential. This theme should come as no surprise, given Donna's day job: she is the interim Director of People for Bel and the Dragon country inns until the end of December 2015. Donna has a genuine love for people and hospitality. She is inspirational; she spent her childhood in foster care and commenced working in a pub at the age of 15 - this has lead to a successful career in bars and restaurants; she has created her own path and she oozes enthusiasm. To her people really matter. Donna runs a People Consultancy, People Stuff Matters, dedicated to making her clients exceptional employers. You can find Donna on Twitter, and, hardly surprisingly, given her roots and love for the hospitality sector, her handle is @pubdonna.


This year's Advent Blog theme is the very beautifully creative "Comet Tails and Coal Dust".

I took to the tinterweb to frantically research such things and discovered that, according to Wikipedia, "Comet tails are features visible in comets when they are illuminated by the Sun".

NASA photo of double tail of Comet West. Credit: Oberservatoire de Haute, Provence
I liken this description to the emotions that are fired up and behaviours displayed when people feel invested in and developed by their company. In my head, when I read the article, I translated it to, "Passion, belief, a can-do approach and enhanced performance are, among others, features visible in people when they feel valued"

In the majority of businesses, people are given the opportunity to progress and develop. Logically thought out career paths are presented and shared amongst the teams to stimulate interest which, in turn, helps to populate the succession plan. Often, I've found, the programmes on which they can embark are called things like "Rising Stars", "Reach", "Discover", "Time to Shine". They create the perception that you can, indeed, achieve your aspirations. The prospect of learning and progressing your career creates excitement; it generates new personal goals and opens up a whole new network which will provoke and evolve your thinking.

Then you learn that you are in a lottery. 

You may be lucky and strike the jackpot (full on learning, development and real promise of progression). Equally, you may only get 2 numbers and win a lucky dip (a day out of the office and a free lunch). There is only so much budget allocated to L&D and, generally speaking, it's never enough to meet demand. Decisions, therefore, have to be made about how people are selected. Cue, assessment centres, panel interviews, project work, presentations, profiling, personal preference. The list goes on.

So what do you do to increase your chances of winning the jackpot?

Picture this. 15 places on a programme. Like X Factor deciding on who goes to Judges' Houses, decisions can be made based on gut feeling, appearance, the last interaction, how they communicate, confidence, how well they answered the (almost always) predictable interview questions, whether their face fits. Are the decisions based on ability and potential?

You get the call; you've been selected. BOOM! Radiance is shining from your very being. You're glowing; about to be expedited through an unknown space leaving sparks in your wake.

But what of those who didn't have a winning ticket? Perhaps they were not as confident or well presented. Didn't fight hard enough to be seen and heard at the assessment centre. Were not as fluid when answering the questions during the interview. Maybe they were just not liked. It happens. They return to their role and, if they are lucky, feedback will be given. For many, it's just back to the grind and continue as they did before. But what if, upon their return, they are celebrated, empowered, supported and coached? What if meaningful, true, honest feedback was given and acted upon? How different the end result could be.

You may not have the comet tail burning bright in the night sky, like the chosen few, but if you had the potential to be selected in the first place; someone saw a glint, something shimmering under the surface that suggested a potential diamond of the future. You, too, should be polished, cherished and, in the right setting, encouraged to shine.

Diamond in the rough

Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you and yours have the most fabulous time. Until the next tweet / blog in 2016....

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