May 31, 2018

Connection and connectivity on multiple levels


We are currently undergoing a house renovation and it’s driving me nuts. It’s an old house with all the associated problems. We’ve chosen to right as many of these problems as our budget will allow. One of the benefits my husband is especially looking forward to is the multiple-level connectivity the house will be wired for. Even in the attic! And it will appear miraculous as wires are tucked behind walls like veins under the skin. I think I have never been as admiring of my husband as I have been during these past months. He has engaged in conversations which scatter my brain cells with mentions of letters and numbers and cables. Sometimes he relays these conversations to me, and my little secret is that I do not listen. I cannot listen.

And yet I am co-writing a book with my colleague, Anne about the power of connection! The kind of connection we’re writing about is like the blood in your veins. It’s what, I believe, as human beings, we’re wired for. Without it we wither and fade.

What we are not connected to, we tend to treat as a commodity. We do this with things, nature and people. If you turn this round, the more connected we are, the more mindful we are of things, nature and people: from what we consume, how we treat our environment to how we treat others. The degree to which we feel connected will determine the quality of that relationship.

This is important in many spheres as resources dwindle and we realise that many items we considered commodities are part of a living cycle that can also wither and fade. The natural world is a good example of this. It is only now that when we see the results of this arms-length carelessness we notice the damage wrought by it. Look even deeper and we may recognise that our own health and well-being is also connected to the flourishing of seemingly unconscious matter such as our oceans, or lower-life forms such as insects and worms.

We can even fall into the trap of treating our staff, our clients as commodities and we all know what it feels like to be on the withering end of that transaction. This is not healthy for individuals or the collective organisation. We simply do not think at our best, create at our best, perform at our best when treated as a commodity. Organisations want to create the best environment for their people to thrive. So how can they do this?

At GBL we believe that true connection comes from having a near and long perspective. The long one looks beyond the boundaries of the organisational threshold to consider as stakeholders the communities and the planet it serves. The near one is to consider the people of the organisation and to connect with them through purpose, values, promises and legacy. This is important for people we see and meet on a daily basis and even more so for those who are remote, where the connection is digital and virtual.  The near and the long are themselves connected, for whom we serve is closely aligned to why we do the things we do with love and passion.

I am sorry not to be passionate about the wiring in the wall but I am, with all my heart, passionate about people and organisations making a difference in this world.

Helen Battersby

December 13, 2017

Lucia brings light to the darkness

Connection / Self-Leadership

Today in Sweden we celebrate Lucia Day.  This is a celebration about light: it’s the darkest time of the year and the start of Swedish Christmas festivities.  Santa Lucia is borrowed from Syracuse in Sicily from where this saint of light, patron of the blind, originates.  The Swedish words are not a translation from the Italian lyrics but rather an ode to Santa Lucia who walks with candles and lights up the dark.  Since the daylight hours last only 6 hours and 10 minutes today in Stockholm, candles are a very good idea.  But do they do the job in all our darkest hours?   Perhaps there is something here about acceptance of the darkness too? In fact we may need to lean into the darkness in order to appreciate the light even more. (more…)

April 25, 2017

Dot-to-dot puzzles, a new world record

Just off a transatlantic flight, with jet lag and tired eyes, I spent a few hours in a student flat on a Sunday morning contributing to a new world record – in dot-to-dot puzzles!  What was the fascination for participants – friends and family of the world record challenger?  Support, of course; you don’t turn down a friend or family member without a good excuse.  There was however something bigger and more compelling.  The chance at being part of setting up a new world record appeals to our competitive nature and sense of “winning” on completion.  Not only that, once started, there was a noticeable determination to keep going to the next dot and the next .. until at least some part milestone had been achieved, like finishing to the next hundred or thousand, or a recognisable image.  With some relief you were able to give your tired eyes a rest in the satisfaction that you had played your part towards the completion of something greater and that the next person would take up where you had left off and do their bit too.  Tangible in the room was a mood of calm concentration and friendly camraderie with young people I had never met before.