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Sync 100: e-bulletin December 09


What might have been

Of all sad words of tongue or pen the saddest are these: 'It might have been!' (John Greenleaf Whittier)

a picture of 2010 in lights

What is it about December? Everything seems to fast-forward and the world stops making that much sense as we're thrown head first into the festive season. Then, before we know it, we're looking at a new year and thinking about what we might do differently this time around.

For 2010 we've got some great Sync meetings planned, which include intensive training and top leadership opportunities in London. Before we tell you about them, let's reflect on 2009 with our leadership hats on and take what's memorable from it and use it to fuel next year!

If you were to create your own personalised snapshot of this year which depicts you celebrating your wins and contemplating your not-so-winning moments, how would you see yourself?

The media, your work environment and your home life as well as the risks you have taken to embrace leadership will all play a part.

What course have you taken? What opportunities have you grabbed? What stages and platforms have you trodden? Did you take a stand in 2009? Have a think about the positive things which have made a difference to the way you feel about yourself this year and why?

Your snapshot doesn't have to just focus on you, but also on those people who have made a mark, led the way, or inspired you.

The meaning of success

People do not find success in life because they never take the time to define what it means to them. (Adrian Gilpin, Chairman IHD)

Liz Crow - a publicity image from her hour on the plinth

This simple statement is useful and links right back to the idea of resourcing your own leadership journey and measuring your own success, rather than someone else's idea of what success looks like.

Sync has often challenged the idea that leadership is not about position or job but can happen from wherever you are, in smaller ways, and is, more often than not, fuelled by passion.

So how have you defined your success this year? Do you think of those little leadership moments as well as the bigger ones that stand out? Where have you felt passion in your work this year?

And what of other people's success? For me, Liz Crow's moment on the plinth, for it's visibility and rigour, was a highlight. What about you?

Did you have a moment when you climbed your own plinth? What was it all about and how did you feel when you were there?

see Liz on the plinth via her website

Chasing Success

Babyhead are the b*****d child of Ian Dury and Iggy Pop (Keith Allen)

Tom Mauger at the Llama Tree Festival

In the New Year we will be publishing a case study on Tom Mauger, the lead singer of Babyhead, a soon to be signed up Sync Member.

Tom and his band have been on the 'edge of success' for about 10 years and they will be spending the festive period touring in Thailand. In a recent conversation with Sync, Tom talked candidly about whether he might be tormenting himself with constantly chasing success.

What springs to mind is Lao Tzu saying 'happiness is the absence of striving for happiness'.

The unhappiness is most certainly greater when we don't feel good about where we are, but instead envy others who are making better progress.

As Adrian Gilpin goes on to say

'We are the only ones who can possibly know whether or not we are successful - comparisons are meaningless'

Go and see Babyhead's website

Is it time to shift your ladder?

leadership ladders

So here's a thing. If we are up for redefining success on our own terms this coming year, that might mean pulling ladders away from walls that are not of our own making.

Why do we so often chase other people's dreams and ideas of what success looks like?

It is far too easy to restrict our own feelings of success to the work or task itself, rather than looking at how we have improved in all different ways. It could be that we are now better at managing our spirits, our responses, our energy and our time, and most importantly, at tapping into the essence of who we are and how we best operate as professionals.

Try this cartoon exercise from CFOR - Force for Change, to help tap into the essence of your working ways and means, by looking at part of your work or a project in detail. Use something that you've worked on in 2009.

Make six boxes on a page and number the boxes.

In the first box, make an image of a goal or challenge or project and title it.

In the second box, make an image of what the purpose of your project is and title it.

In the third box, make an image of what happens to you when the goal, challenge or project is disturbed and title it.

In the fourth box, make an image of your usual style of working on the project and title it.

In the fifth box, make an image of something unexpected, accidental or surprising, in relation to your project, and title it.

In the last box, take on elements of boxes 2-5 and put them into box 6, play with it, doodle, dream. Let a picture develop and title it.

Look at your comic strip, particularly the last image! What is interesting or noticeable about this? Does it say something about you? How might you take this into next year's work?

CFOR Force for Change website

2010 - a year to realise your potential?

Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. (Charles Richards)

A flip chart sheet illustrating the plains and the caves model from the Liverpool  Sync introductions session

So what are you going to do with your essence in 2010 to stretch your leadership muscle? Sync is delighted to be able to offer three options. Which of these might you explore?

Firstly, you could come to one of our Sync introduction events

As we said last month, these will be open to old and new Sync members, and anyone who is interested but not yet taken the plunge. There is one coming up in Manchester, 3rd February 2010, 1.00 - 4.30pm, at The Greenroom, in partnership with Full Circle Arts (contact and also one in Bristol, at the end of February (contact

We are also holding a softer, less formal session for people in London who are interested in finding out more about what Sync has to offer in 2010. That will be on the 12th January 2010, 6 - 8pm at Graeae’s fabulous new offices, at Bradbury Studios, 138 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DY (contact

You can also apply for Sync Intensives. This is an 8 month programme open nationally for Sync members which offers the successful applicants personal coaching, face-to-face development days, and the development of a supportive online community. The deadline for applications for this is the end of February 2010. A simple application form is available from

Lastly, you could apply for Leading in London placement opportunities. These are aimed at emerging and mid-career Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) (1.) or Deaf and disabled leaders who want to develop their leadership skills and behaviours in a work environment through shadowing a leader and undertaking key projects with guidance and support. The objective is to 'learn through doing' and the expectation is that the transition from shadowing to delivering will be a quick one. It is intended that placements should be intensive and transformative leadership development.

Placements are facilitated by the Cultural Leadership Programme (CLP), funded by Arts Council England - London via CLP and supported by CLP's programme strands: Powerbrokers (BAME leaders) and Sync (Deaf and disabled leaders).

There are two Leading in London opportunities for BAME leaders and two for Deaf and disabled leaders, and these placements can be three months full-time or up to six months part-time. They are:

Powerbrokers bite Associate : Barbican Centre

Powerbrokers Dance and Performance Associate : Southbank Centre

Sync Development Associate : Whitechapel Gallery

Sync Environmental Strategy Associate : Sadler's Wells

In addition there is the opportunity for a Deaf and disabled leader to undertake a six month placement as an Associate Producer with London 2012's Unlimited Programme.

So lots of things on offer and new walls to place your leadership ladder against. We really look forward to hearing from you in relation to some of these opportunities. Happy climbing!

Sarah Pickthall

Sync Coaching

Want to go to the CLP opportunities page?

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