Are we at the end of consumerism?

I doubt it, but we are starting to see a shift in how people are spending their money and their levels of resilience.

If we look at the time period 1950 to present day, then much has changed.  A generation that experienced rationing during the war are mostly in their later years, they may well be in receipt of both company and state pension, but are unlikely to be spending large amounts of money on household goods, clothes.

The next generation, now predominately in their 50s, may well have seen their children purchase their first house, have grandchildren and find themselves knocking about in a house that is comfortably-furnished, probably a little on the larger side than truly required, have the mortgage paid off and with the shed, garage, attic and even possibly the back bedroom crammed with stuff.

A visit into any of the above, often ends up being a trip down memory lane, remember the Kodak disc camera, or the tapes that used to go into the early video cameras, then there will be the album upon album of 6×4 photographs; all no longer held by the dried-out-sticky-plastic over-sleeve.

The generation after this starts to become very interesting; now in their 30s, they have no recollection of houses without colour TV’s, computers, central heating, and any number of gaming devices, kitchen gadgets to make life easier, whilst preparing dishes whose origins are from far and wide. Put simply, this is the first generation whose reference structure from childhood is likely to be one of if we want it we can have it.

But what are people turning to, if it’s not getting the latest thing? There are reports and evidence in the slowdown of sales for the latest smartphone models when released, retailers are and have been for some time turning to innovation to keep potential customers engaged, but people are realising that the innovation is for innovation’s sake. Has our appetite for the latest thing passed? Well evidence is showing increasing interest in buying ‘experiences’ .

Time is a precious commodity when it’s gone, it’s gone, I was sitting for 15 minutes the other night, waiting to get off a motorway junction.  Yes that’s right, 15 minutes in a queue half a mile long on the hard shoulder!

People now want more for their time, they are indulging their hard-earned money on having an experience.  Out is the latest lawnmower; in comes paying someone to come round once a month to cut and treat the lawn, in the time saved; we go out, pay to stay a night in a tent ‘glamping’ so we can see the shooting stars at night, listen to the wind and be greeted by a cow mooing over the fence in the morning. Yes I am buying the experience, without all the stuff needed to do it. I have de-cluttered… or at least, not added any more clutter to my hoard. I am free to move onto the next thing, because, ladies and gentlemen, here is another facet of modern life. I don’t want to stick with any one thing for long, my attention span is short, I want variety, choice, indulgence but what about resilience? The ability to resolve things that don’t quite go right first time,  ot to expect instant results or to get more understanding and become part of the community engaged in the effort. Don’t worry about all that I will just move on, I am here for the experience, to say I’ve done it, to fill my boots with experience.  I have the selfie to prove it.  Without all the stuff.

Personal Resilience

So much has been written about building personal resilience and it seems that it is one of the hottest topics in businesses and organizations as they look to support their people and look after their well being.

Could it be, that in a world of instant gratification, where we are led to believe that there is always a way, that we have built up a reliance on others to come up with solutions?  Could our desire for inclusion, our worry that a child should not experience rejection on the sports field, that ‘taking part is more important than winning’ result in us losing the ability to cope with difficulty and belief in ourselves to overcome adversity?

Human beings are enduring creatures, we have spent thousands of years dealing with challenges, overcoming what the natural world has thrown at us, yet we seem to struggle with the man-made challenges of modern life. Expectation, falsely-created needs and a desire for an easy life.

Life just isn’t like that, there are real challenges and threats, not the sabre tooth tiger that wants to hunt us and eat us, or (for many of us) the need to find food and water daily in order to survive.  No…modern challenges, like adapting to rapidly-changing technology, coping with change, dealing with global competition, remaining relevant in the workplace, managing others’ expectations and self-expectations.

So just how much control do we have in our lives?  The answer is a lot, but only if we take charge, choose a positive outlook, cultivate the motivation and determination to see things through.

Every four years, we see athletes from around the globe come together to compete, to win and for more to go away empty-handed. The common themes are stories of clear goals, dedication and sacrifice on the way to success and for those who were unable to claim a medal, defiance in defeat, a commitment to work harder, to find new ways to train, to up skill, bank the experience and return stronger. This is resilience in action.

We have worked hard over the last few months to bring to you a set of Building Personal Resilience Coaching Cards, a grouped resource that can be used by individuals, organizations and teams to understand what makes up resilience.  There are challenges and questions to self-coach and develop those skills, thinking and mind-sets needed in order to be successful.

Follow the link to find out more goo.gl/KHZkic

 

Thomas Edison made 1000 experimental light bulbs, all of which failed before he succeeded on his 1001st attempt.

Albert Einstein said ‘failure is success in progress’.

Leadership of a Country

Whilst many of us have wrestled and struggled with the intricacies of leading teams through change, there surely can be no greater challenge than to lead a country. Whilst government is generally elected by the people on a mandate usually laid out in an election manifesto, the complexity of turning those visions and commitments into action and delivering them before the electoral cycle starts again has been the Achilles heel of many an elected government.
So refreshing it is to see a different approach being taken by Wales. In April 2016 The Wellbeing Of Future Generations Act 2015 is enacted and I thought it would be useful to look at what this act is designed to do, how it will affect every public body in Wales in the way that they work and how the citizens of Wales will benefit.
Leadership is never easy, it requires many skills and has many attributes, most have been written about by a great number of people, yet it is in the mechanics of organisations, the behaviours, the culture started and maintained by those in it that provide the biggest challenge to change. When we look at leading a country there are so many public services and bodies, partners and stakeholders that make up the infrastructure to a country, to influence and direct cultural change becomes more challenging.

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Patience is a virtue

This week we received a broadband hub upgrade, twice as fast as the previous unit, delivering 200mb speed. Impressive as that may sound, it crystallised my thinking on the speed in which we live our day-to-day lives. Outside, the traffic starts earlier and earlier, the speed at which people drive down the road certainly increases in the peak periods, as people hurry to get to work and mothers (no doubt balancing the multiple roles of mother, employee, partner, etc.) rush to get the kids to school or drop-off point before getting into work on time and then to get to the shop, pick the kids up, and maybe go onto another job later in the afternoon.
I see this same rushing to complete, multiple meeting days, pressure to make instant decisions and quick analysis of results in the working environment on a regular basis. The other week I saw a post from a senior police officer on Twitter “Reminded of the need to create time to stop and think and allow others that time too. It leads to better decision making”. So I am interested to explore if the deadlines and expectations that we seem to be treating as givens or even as rules are both beneficial and supportive to a) good decision making and b) wellbeing. The answer, I fear, may well be not!

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Is There Life On Mars

Man’s fascination with trying to find life on other planets continues, following the latest satellite images, scientists have for the first time confirmed liquid water flowing on the surface of present-day Mars, a finding that will add to speculation that life, if it ever arose there, could persist.
So roll on the clock say a few thousand years from now and I wonder what life from another time dimension, coming across planet earth may find? And if we are no longer in existence what legacy we leave behind? Will these visitors, if it is to be believed we cannot be the only form of civilisation in existence, be able to piece together not only how we evolved, but understand our purpose?

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What is change management

What is change management?
Organisational change is something many of us will experience in our careers, often more than once, yet many managers find themselves tasked with managing business continuity whilst change is taking place, yet have received little change management training or have little experience in managing change. This may sound familiar.
Leading and managing change in an organisation is critical if the change is to be achieved within timescales, budget and with a committed and engaged workforce. Often change programmes confuse and distract people from their everyday work; productivity becomes affected with uncertainty regarding the future becoming the preoccupation of many.

Good training for managers is essential. Senior managers must be able to communicate the strategic vision clearly, be able to explain the purpose and gain the commitment of middle managers quickly. Middle managers are often the key to successful change programmes, they face more questions from their colleagues and team members and are under mixed pressures of implementation, dealing with their own uncertainties and emotions, finding solutions to unexpected problems during changes and acting as a conduit between those they manage and those they report to.

Investment in change management training to create leaders with more tools in their managerial and leadership toolbox, goes a long way to improve the quality of the experience many have when going through change in the workplace.

Good change management training should ensure that delegates develop
• A comprehensive understanding of change management strategy
• Be aware of the principles of successful change programmes
• Have knowledge of models of change management
• Strategic vision
• Tactical panning for improved implementation of change
• An exploration of Emotional Intelligence EI and be able to put it into practice
• Increased self awareness of how they cope and deal with change
• Coaching skills for use in the workplace
• Advanced communication skills of effective leadership

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