By the time Brightside is asked to work with leaders they are seriously accomplished. They have already won the equivalent of the Grand National. They are usually fiercely bright, emotionally intelligent, and politically astute. They have been through some serious crucible moments in their personal or professional lives which have made them exceptionally resilient – and shaped their moral compass. So what is the difference that could make a difference to them as leaders? What might Brightside offer that is different and of value?
My primary goal with an individual or a team is to create safe uncertainty – that means creating and facilitating a safe environment in which people are willing to take risks, and feel safe enough to be challenged to think and behave in new or unchartered ways, as well as be supported in making small but significant choices that may light the touch paper for transformation and change, within themselves, with those whom they work, and in their organisations at large.
I make firm and persistent efforts to be an outside observer and to listen – in order to connect to the people with whom I work, in the places they work. Then, together, we look beyond the immediacy of the moment of being stuck in the mud of tricky relationships or feeling lost in operational fog – to see the bigger strategic picture beyond. And then? And then we work out how to get there.
The Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, said:
‘To talk with someone, ask a question first, then – listen.’
The craft and the choreography of what I do is to enable others to navigate their way through courageous, generative conversations. Conversations that might be at first feel difficult. But the rewards outweigh the certain difficulties en route as the fruits of increased trust, communication and confidence between teams grow – so they can perform more effectively together at work.
The choreography of any conversation is an art form – it is a delicate but complex dance between two or more people. The choreography of conversation requires listening beyond wanting to broadcast what you have to say next, it involves, like a dance, turn taking and a sense of intuiting perfect timing within the nuances and the sub text of what is being said or ‘danced’ in the room.