Tuesday, 21 October 2014

My Journey to Being Healthy

I started this blog in the beginning of the year as I embarked upon a new approach to coping with chronic asthma.

My health coach, Tania Kapp, has kept me journaling my diet and my exercise. She has encouraged me to keep training and running and on Sunday the 12th October I ran my first 10km race.

In the past I never thought I was capable of running 10 km but after running a 5km race three months ago (with some difficulty) I told myself that I have to push myself further.

I have also learned other things about my condition. By having lots of phlegm build up used to be :” I am getting sick” but somehow realising I can keep training despite the phlegm I have realised that due to my allergies it’s just the way it is but it does not mean much more than that.

As a result due to my new approach of:
  • -  Stay fit but have exciting fitness (challenges) goals
  • -  Ignore “minor” signs of phlegm build-up as just “that’s how it is”….it’s nothing serious.
  • -  Keep the diet going: few carbs, high protein, small portions, minimal alcohol and sugar, and 5 portions of veg; fruit only if it’s with nuts and biltong, very little (rye) bread.
  • -  Get a lot of sleep (7-8 hours consistently)
  • -  Listen to your body – don’t train if you feel “pap”. Take your temperature and your resting heart rate to see if there are any warning signs.
  • -  Drink sufficient water
  • -  Get out there to train even if bed feels great – the feeling afterwards is amazing and everyone else around you also benefits from your good mood.

As a result of this approach I have not seen a doctor nor had an anti-biotic since February whereas last year I must have had 10 anti-biotics! I spoke to a health practitioner last night who said that (particularly) parents insist on anti-biotics even when it’s a virus (anti-biotics can’t remedy a virus) they will from now on test blood at the consulting rooms to show the patient that it’s a virus and not bacterial. Added to that RSA is running out of anti-biotics due to us being such high users and becoming immune to them.

My health has been a real focus where I put it first. Don’t get me wrong I still stray from my diet from time to time and have a 5 hour night sleep occasionally – I am human. I have become a student of my health and my knowledge of my body has improved. I have a better relationship with my body.

It’s like anything…..when you dedicate yourself to the process you will get different results because you are doing things differently.

I am truly grateful.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Road back to health

I have struggled with chronic asthma or COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) for most of my life. I was only able to take part in a limited number of sports at school but managed to do well in tennis, cricket and squash. I played league tennis and squash through my 20’s, and 30’s. This league activity came to an abrupt halt when we started a family – possibly not the best decision because my lung doctor in Joburg, Dr Greenblatt urged me never to give up squash. Osteo arthritis in my lower back is also an inhibiter but I can still play.

During my 40’s I experienced many chest infections and I saw my pulmonary specialist annually and ensure I am on the best medicine.

I contracted a health coach (nutritionist) Tania Kapp in July 2010 (I was 48). She got me on a good diet and an exercise regime of swimming, circuits, cycling and treadmill/jogging. I ran 5km regularly and I swam 40 lengths 3 x a week. I lost about 7kg and became lean and mean. This led to me doing the Midmar mile in 2011 in 56 minutes (just scraped a medal).This was an event I watched my mates do when they were 14-17 years old – I sat on the sidelines due to the asthma.

After the Midmar I relapsed into old habits and two years ago I had glandular fever and pneumonia. That was the start of the slippery slope. In 2013 I had a chest complaint on an ongoing basis and had anti-biotics monthly. In Feb this year I said enough is enough. I saw the specialist (Dr Peter Chapman), a generalist physician and then finally Dr Goldberg, an integrated medical practitioner. At the same time I re-contracted with Tania my health coach (should never have left her). Tania has got me back on the regimes and I have lost 4kg (on 76kg) and Dr Goldberg gave me IV ozone, IV vitamin C and counselling sessions.

I am back in the gym now and I have a mindset shift. A cough or some congestion does not mean no activity. It could mean a walk or a light gym workout. I am slowly regaining my immune strength and my confidence in the gym. In the past I would not train in those conditions. Tania suggested that if my resting heart rate is normal and my temperature is normal I can train.

My shift also involves a really disciplined approach to managing my asthma including:
-          Inhaling steam including a drop of Olbas two to three times a day.
-          Blowing into a water bottle to exercise my lungs two to three times a day.
-          Gargling with salt water twice a day to take away any wheeze
-          Sniffing saline solution twice a day.
-          Exercising every other day
-          Sleep of at least 7 hours per day
-          Ensuring I sleep with dust covers wherever I am
-          Avoiding cats and dogs
-          Managing my stress
-          Following my diet

If you would like to engage on any of these issues please e-mail me on gavin@gavincoetzee.co.za

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Leading organisational –wide projects involving external consultants

As an external consultant myself I am privy to how leaders can play stronger more influential roles in managing projects involving external consultants.
Issues at stake include the brief and the scope; what’s at stake; budget; meetings/communication; and project leaders.

The Brief and the scope
Leaders may ask consultants to address certain issues in their company not knowing that those issues affect many other issues in the system. They may expect a certain result without considering the impacts on other components in the system that may have unintended consequences. When initiating the project the leader should discuss and explore the systemic effects highlighted by the consultant to understand and create the appropriate scope for the project. If those additional components are out of scope for various reason then to be explicit about that boundary and preferably the reason for that.

What’s at stake?
These projects generally carry significant possible impacts on the development of the organisation. The energy, involvement and commitment of the leader is crucial in ensuring that the impact is highly positive and successful. The leader is investing a lot of money in the project and should be aware of extracting the maximum ROI.  Should the scope be incorrect the leader may be left picking up a lot of pieces.

The budget links to the foregoing two items. If the scope is wrong then there may be negative effects on the consultant’s motivation. It is seldom transparent what the budget is. In some instances the leader explains the cap and the consultant knows the limitation and the boundary is clear but in most instances it is not clear and the consultant is left wondering whether phase II will happen at all. Obviously organisations are dependent on their financial resources and I respect and appreciate that leaders sometimes aren’t sure themselves but at least communicate about it.

Meetings and Communication
At times there are long lapses in communication to the consultant. I suspect it’s often that the leader has many other fish to fry and your project is one of many. The void in communication may mean that the consultant has to make some intelligent assumptions about the next steps which present a risk to the leader and their organisation. It can also mean that the consultant starts to lead which is inappropriate for their role.
The project needs regular meetings to:
  • Feedback progress
  • Understand what has happened in the organisation since the last intervention and update documentation
  • Check that the next intervention is on the button given the developments
  • Hear where the leader is at and to engage on and manage expectations

If the leader keeps the consultant at arm’s length means there will be risks to the project.

Project Leaders
 Sometimes the leader delegates project sponsorship to a lower level leader.This can present a challenge to the consultant when the deputy:
  • Does not have enough information
  • Does not carry enough influence
  • Represents a bottleneck and a constraint for things to be auctioned
  • Also struggles to see the leader
  • Is only a conduit and doesn’t control the initiatives

This can mean that: 
  • The project can stall
  • Others don’t see the project as important as they did when the leader was leading
  • Information gets lost in translation
  • It can become quite chaotic and control can be lost
  • The consultant can become disillusioned.

Leaders will assert much more influence and control and be more successful if they:
  • Are present and visible
  • Communicate regularly and as clearly (including being direct) as possible
  • Are willing to discuss and agree scope and the effects on the rest of the system and then share the boundaries of the project and the reasons related to that.
  • Communicate what they know about the budget and the prospects going forward
  • Keep the consultant informed of developments in-between interventions
  • Asks and listens to feedback from the consultant
  • Communicate to staff what is happening on the project

I acknowledge that this is a two-way street and I also take responsibility for my role in this process.

Gavin Coetzee is a successful Leadership and Change Consultant from CapeTown, South Africa. 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Delegation and Empowerment

I was recently coaching a client who is struggling with delegation and considered to be a bottleneck.  Another client had a very low withdrawal score on her Hornevian Triad on the Enneagram http://www.fitzel.ca/enneagram/socstyle.html that suggested that she is omni-present and deep in the space of her people (can they breathe?)

To what extent do you let go and trust your people to do the job and to get on with it without you micro-managing?

Signs of Micromanagement: What follows are some signs that you might be a micromanager – or have one on your hands. In general, micromanagers:
  •        Resist delegating.
  •        Immerse themselves in overseeing the projects of others.
  •        Start by correcting tiny details instead of looking at the big picture.
  •        Take back delegated work before it is finished if they find a mistake in it.
  •        Discourage others from making decisions without consulting them. 
  •        See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_90.htm#sthash.J8FopEKh.dpuf

I think that the essence could be in trusting yourself (too much) and then not trusting others.

How can you create a culture where mistakes are permitted and we learn from them? Leading up to a huge tournament teams may be prepared to lose to learn and to see themselves improving in certain areas as they know the big picture is the big tournament. They will test certain combinations to see what works. So experimentation is part of the deal. Perfectionism can be a real wet blanket where delegation and empowerment is required.

1. Fear of Failure
What if they fail?  The reality is that everyone makes mistakes in the workplace and if managed appropriately mistakes can be excellent learning opportunities to both improve performance and improve operations.  To delegate effectively, managers must recognize their own fears and allow some room for their team to make mistakes.  With adequate development and trust, team members will more often meet the challenge than fail.
2. Envy of Your Staff Member’s Ability
So, you’re a little bit green with envy at that talented staff member of yours whose ability in a certain area outshines your own.  In your private thoughts, you know you are reluctant to delegate to her because she is so good at what she does.  So what should you do?
Talk to yourself and get over it!  Even laugh at your envy if you must!  Once you have intelligently dealt with your own negative emotions, let your talented staff member do what she does best.  Give her full credit as appropriate.   The truth is she makes you look good!  Let her excel and you’ll be known as a manager and leader who can utilize the talents of your staff effectively.
3. I Can Do it Better Myself!
This is probably true!  After all, your technical ability is part of the reason for your success in your organization.  The correct question to ask yourself, however, is:  Should I be doing the work myself or is it better for me to delegate this work to someone else?
As a manager, your role is one of process to achieve organizational outcomes through organizing, controlling, planning, communicating, etc.  You can fulfill this role better when you are not bogged down with work that others should be doing. Invest the time in developing your people to perform these tasks.  Lower your standard to an acceptable level of performance.  They do not need to complete the task exactly like you do it to meet organizational goals.  After all, there are many methods for accomplishing most tasks.
4. I Like To Do This Myself!
Understood!  There are some aspects of any job that are more enjoyable than others.  The question here is the same as in item #3, however: Should you be doing the work yourself or should you delegate it to someone else?
There is a principle of delegation that says managers should delegate tasks that can be done by others.  Some managers take this advice too far and delegate everything to their staff members.  This is not what is meant.  Delegated tasks should be appropriate to the responsibilities and organizational level of the team member.  Further, there are some managerial tasks that are inappropriate for a manager to delegate to others to perform.  This human barrier to delegation addresses those tasks we like to do but really should not do because they could be done by others.  Let someone else enjoy this part of your job!   
5. I Better Not Give Him Too Much Authority For This Task Or I Will Lose Control
Part of delegating effectively is picking the right person for the task.  This requires assessing   both their willingness and capacity to perform the task.  Assuming they have the right attitude and skill level to perform the task, give them the authority they need to complete the task for you.  As appropriate, establish check-in points so you can monitor their progress.  Don’t over-monitor them however (particularly your superstars) or you will frustrate them.  You have invested in their development and created a positive work environment for them to do their best–now you just need to trust them to give you the desired results.

My view on the delegation dilemma is: Do you want to manage; do you want to get things done through others; are you willing to trust and allow others the freedom to grow and are you willing to go through the pain to change? Or are you actually a specialist who is darn good at what you do because you are competent, efficient and professional and maybe you can be a resource to others who can come and get advice and best practice from you as the expert. Managers and people leaders are not experts in content – they are good with people and process. Decide NOW and feel liberated and valuable in your role NOW or face continuous frustration with relying on others with whom you can’t seem able to share the responsibility.

Gavin Coetzee is a successful Leadership and Change Consultant from CapeTown, South Africa.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Leaders Driving Culture Change

Two of my clients have engaged me in consulting on Culture Change in their organisations by requesting a re-invention/re-freshing of the organisation culture in line with their growth strategies.

Culture is “the way we do things around here”. To change culture requires new habits. We all know what that is like and how tough it is as individuals to change our habits so to collectively change to new habits requires tremendous effort.

In both projects we are using John Kotter’s well know 8 step change model.

To drive this change requires leadership presence and passion. My nine year old daughter recently said : “Dad even when you are at home you are not here”. This was obviously a wake-up call for me.

I can see how important it is for leaders to be present with staff and their organisation in driving change and results.

It has been amazing to see one of the leaders with so much passion and enthusiasm to engage their staff in embracing the change. The challenge as always is to keep that passion and drive throughout. In both cases the clients have committed 18 months to the process which is admirable as they want to (as Kotter says) make the changes stick (Step Eight).

Each Kotter stage requires a different kind of energy. The analysis stage created a sense of enquiry and making sense of the world. The (Crafting of the) Vision stage demanded creativity and en-dreaming of the future. The enabling action stage is tough as it means now the rubber hits the road and the real hard graft starts. Communicating for buy-in means the leader needs to find different fuel to keep communicating with the same passion that they had initially and reflecting the same belief they had upfront.

All in all leadership requires drive, tenacity and determination to succeed even when others are flagging but to ensure that the coalitions stay with them running at the same or similar pace and with the same stamina otherwise the leader will burn out together with the initiatives.

Gavin Coetzee is a successful Leadership and Change Consultant from CapeTown.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Staff Retention and the Enneagram

A few of my Entrepreneurial  MD clients are really struggling with the fact they are losing several key staff at present. A few of them are also about to recruit new key staff. My first reaction was “why are they taking it so personally and reacting so strongly?” Now it is both a function of:
  •           Where the business is at and
  •           Their personalities

I tell clients that recruiting is one of, if not the most important HR task there is. You don’t just let anybody through the front door of your home.  Before you recruit you need to be very clear on your recruitment and selection process ensuring that it has rigour and thought.

We can spend a lot of time managing poor quality recruits and trying to get them on track when the initial process wasn’t sufficiently sound. So rather do it right up front.

My view is that we need to keep engaging with staff on what makes them stay. If we consider the impacts of Generational theory which posits that people born in different decades were affected by parents in different eras and want different things e.g. people born from 1989 to 2000 have the Defining and guiding values:
* Optimism * Confidence * High self-esteem * Media & entertainment overloaded * Street smart * Diversity * Conservative * Networkers * Civic duty * Ethical consumption * Achievement * Morality * Naiveté * Change * Techno-savvy * Global citizens, with a multi-everything view

So keep asking your employees what they want and how they want it to manage employee retention.

The Enneagram Personality Profile
The other insight for this blog is that I am finding the use of the Enneagram Personality Profile to be very powerful.

Leaders working with the Enneagram are finding its accuracy astounding and finding insights and nuggets that take them to a place where they can improve their ability to work under pressure and in conflict and improve their relationships significantly. Because the Enneagram has 9 different personality types and that the profile gives you a percentage on each it allows the leader to see the bigger picture of the link between the parts of their personalities. Leaders are asking their Exco to complete the profile so that as a team they can see their strengths and gaps.

Under pressure (stress) and in conflict (Harmonic Triad) leaders determine three things:
  •           Their ability to be “competent” i.e. the ability to keep at it and keep  working or just do what they do despite the stress.
  •           Positive Outlook – their ability to remain upbeat and optimistic
  •           Their ability to speak their mind and take action while others may be  freezing or fleeing the scene.

In terms of how they perform in their business and personal relationships (Hornevian Triad) they discover:
  •           Their ability to assert their thoughts and feelings;
  •           The degree to which they withdraw when required and
  •           The degree to which they comply (duty and responsibility) or not.

If you have not seen it yet in another place on this site please check out this link http://vimeo.com/72633500. It shows how the Enneagram is being used by Susan Olesek to help rehabilitate prison convicts and regain their personal power.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Illusion of Importance

Some of my Entrepreneurial CEO clients seem to be challenged in the arena of focus, stimulation and that constant need to know they are doing things right and evolving.

Fortunately they are humble enough to ask for feedback and to respond to it. They are constantly seeking and expanding and setting new goals and embarking on new challenges.

These folk are high energy, restless, questioning and taking action.

One of my clients is harnessing the power of purpose in his quest to go beyond the MD/CEO realm. His purpose is meaningful and spiritual and it drives him and pushes him to influence and inspire so many others. He is relentless with it and it rubs off wherever he goes.

Another is running the NY Marathon and three of them are taking their business to a new continent and getting involved in global matters for their companies.

They say if we are not growing we are accelerating our spiritual death.

I do feel however that there is a balance and when we feed that will to expand constantly we could also be feeding something else which doesn’t allow us to be fully present in the Now. Eckhart Tolle wrote a brilliant book called the Power of Now (followed by A new Earth) and he said that if we are happy right now then we can string happy moments together continuously. He went on to say: “we are neither our feelings nor our thoughts” – they are only transitory.

A client once said that things don’t come across his desk in threes anymore but in nines and I suspect that he was also responsible for attracting many of those two.

Stephen Covey in “First things first” spoke about Quadrant three being the quadrant of illusion….items that are urgent (but not important) and have the illusion of being important and we feel we have to attend to them straight away …like  a new e-mail arriving or a phone ringing….yet it could just be another distraction.

Our busyness makes us feel valued and important but are we being effective? We need to:
      Decide What the four or five most important items are that line up with our vision and purpose. Some companies are in trouble because they have lost the “why” for what they do.      
  •         Be disciplined about sticking to that agenda and those items chosen. My school headmaster spoke recently about two most important values of passion and discipline (I am better at the former).
  •       Complete items and then pause or stop to reflect
  •         Achieve the measures that you have set and feel that sense of accomplishment before moving onto the next agenda
  •        When you do allow yourself to be distracted along the way to have fun, do it consciously as it may be quality time to recharge.