Friday, 5 August 2011

I have just completed two weeks of an 11 week global leadership programme as a member of the faculty. It is the kind of programme that makes you realise the advantages of being part of a network of firms - the scale of the impact you can have is far greater than that achieved by small, entrepreneurial firms that are more fleet of foot. For example we have had some of the world leaders in their field come and share their thinking with us. There is so much I could talk to you about and below I have condensed all this into a couple of the insights.

I remember when I was 11 looking up to the six formers and thinking that they seemed so confident and wishing I was their age so that I would have that level of assurance. Now, many years later I realise that we all carry on learning if we are open to growing. However self-assured we appear this is largely a facade. Czikszentmihalyi wrote about this indirectly in his book Flow. He is the "father" of Flow and discovered it when researching into artists who got lost in their work. He then came up with the other mental states that we inhabit and suggested that there were two entry points into flow. The first is via control over emotional states; the second is via a state of arousal. The latter path is much more risky however because too much arousal can flip someone into anxiety! It is a fine line and my theory is that Genesis Park is deliberately a very intense experience because it wants to create the conditions where participants are more likely to experience flow. At the very least people discover that we all have limitations and hopefully let go of the need to be perfect!

I am glad it is now the weekend and that we all faculty and participants alike get some down time. Wednesday was the most intense day for me and I just took some time out and forewent the Chopin museum to spend two hours quality time with the girls. I had got beyond flow and needed space to regain my equilibrium. To be a good leader it is all about knowing our limits and having boundaries so we cope well with the pressure. Now I am looking forward to next week. I would love to hear about how you develop your resilience and your thoughts on Flow.