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Sync:e-bulletin April 2011


Small steps and seismic shifts

Shimbou-zuyoi (people calmly applying patience & fortitude to bad circumstances)

a photo of a road in Japan after the earthquake March 2011

Having lived and worked in Japan for several years, I am constantly drawn and in awe as to how Japanese people manage in such drastic times. Two earthquakes and a tsunami in as many months as well as a set of reactors in a state of flux, not to mention the masses looking on has more than challenged the Japanese people.

Shimbou-zuyoi is a phrase Japanese people use to describe how we or others might frame things in a more positive light, 'applying patience and fortitude to bad circumstances'. Interesting.

On the other side of the world, It's been a month of challenge for many of us too, following the announcement of Arts Council England's new National Portfolio and all that such a public process entails.

Shimbou-zuyoi may not be part of our cultural vocabulary, but I wonder if the questions Japanese people are asking themselves are really so different to the questions we're posing here at this time?

What do we draw upon when the earth feels like it's being pulled out from under our feet?

How do we find new sense of ourselves when the terrain feels so unweildy?

How do we reaffirm our purpose when the future feels so unclear?

Leading ourselves through these difficult times and inspiring the people around us to look to new horizons too is a task and a half.

Sync thoughts

You know, life ebbs and flows, you only have to look at the fossil records to see all the kinds of dark angels that have come, but change is inevitable. It's how you look at things, how you work with change. Life will always find a way. (Jon Adams, Sync Thinking, March 2011)

a picture of the Sync Thinking event by Robin Meader

So with change very much on our minds, we're delving into the archives of our March Sync Thinking event to share more of what has changed for people through their contact with Sync.

This month we're focusing on people's Change and Achievement as well as exploring the impact that Sync coaching has had.

One of the most powerful moments for many on the day was when Caroline Cardus in conversation with Tony Heaton talked about how coaching had helped her be 'ready for a no'.

At this time, we are more likely to not achieve what we want with a good deal of competition for resources and work. For Caroline, feeling ready for a rejection has been a pivotal shift for her and has changed how she approaches her work.

We're been busy prepping our videos so you can see the whole of this great conversation next month through the site.

For our growing list of transcripts, just click through on the links below each section below to feel more of the flow! For starters, and in the aftermath of natural and unnatural disaster, why not read a conversation between Ruth Gould and Simon McKeown about achievement shaped by adversity and circumstance.

Simon McKeown in conversation with Ruth Gould

Melting pot

My coaching journey through Sync saw me through a time of huge change, from working within a disabled-led very small organisation to completely changing and going into a very large, mainstream organisation with a very different kind of support and trying to find my own personal path through that. (Rachel Bagshaw).

a picture showing ying yang chocolate melting pot

Rachel Bagshaw joined Sync Intensives programme a year after her mentor and manager Jenny Sealey completed the Sync 20 programme.

Both had very different things they wanted to explore as part of this. At our recent Sync Thinking event in March they spoke openly about the impact that coaching has had on their ability to transcend the current situation, enabling them to find new pathways to how they feel, express and behave, not always comfortable or pretty.

For Jenny, the experience of both manager and managed whilst being coached at the same time brought about a degree of honesty that was very powerful.

It got us together to really talk about being deaf, being a wheelchair user, pain management, frustration, fatigue. We were able to put all of that into a bigger melting pot and talk about it a lot more honestly.

For Rachel, coaching meant that she was able to address where she was not helping herself, finding ways to deal with this head on.

There was a real value in me being able to share my own experience: the impact of my impairment on my working patterns and actually really using the time with my coach to completely overhaul the way that I was managing this, instead of just sort of endlessly trying to cope and trying to get through it all in a slightly, not very useful, or supportive way by myself.

Read more about these extraordinary women and their journey together and apart.

Rachel Bagshaw and Jenny Sealey's conversation

Being me

I wouldn't have done it without Sync or 2012. I wouldn't have that impetus to sort of stand up and say 'I'm not going to hide any more, I'm going to get on and do it'. What was fundamentally important was finding out about me, without me being ready and the coaching, the space and the context to say this is me. if I didn't know who I was I wouldn't be able to do it. (Jon Adams)

a photo of Jon Adams at Sync Thinking

In the afternoon of the Sync Thinking event we heard from Jon Adams and Cat Loriggio who have developed a very fortuitous relationship around their work on the Cultural Olympiad, working together to achieve what they both want, better.

In a former life Jon was a geologist and his geological expertise is still very much part of his creative work and how he captures what's going on around him, including how he views change.

You know, life ebbs and flows, you only have to look at the fossil records to see all the kinds of dark angels that have come, but change is inevitable. Like Caroline said this morning, it's how you look at things, how you work with change, it's life and it will always find a way.

Caterina's job involves her being a catalyst for change and she has been hugely dependent on people like Jon throughout the whole process of building a Cultural Olympiad in the South East region.

Whilst Jon and I think very differently, we have these great meetings where we don't understand each other, quite a long part of the meeting and he draws me something and I can't do drawings, I can't understand flow-charts and diagrams, so I kind of try and articulate it all. Jon is sitting there as I'm getting too wordy. We both adore detail and have very high expectation. It's our likeness that has actually made a lot of this work happen, but our differences ensure that it's very interesting and very exciting work.

To read an edited transcript of Cat and Jon's presentation

Sync moves

In music, syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced strong and weak but also powerful beats in a meter.

an arrow on the road

We've had our first meeting to explore what may be in store for Sync as we move through 2011/12 under the new Organisational Development and Leadership Department at Arts Council England, but we're still not quite sure as to the beat of things to come.

As soon as we know more, we'll share this with you. We're hoping to be able to keep afloat and develop more opportunities for people to have bespoke leadership and coaching programmes.

In the meantime, one of our Sync partners in the South East, Dawn Langley, has just completed a big piece of work on a fabulous new resource.

We all know that a lot is being asked of arts organisations at the moment and not everyone has the tools they need at their fingertips. Dawn has been working together with CC Skills and a range of funding partners to put together a really practical survival toolkit. It is aimed at providing the creative and cultural sector with some tools that might help manage the many changes afoot. Dawn says...

Whether you want to do a complete review, look into the future, or work creatively on some immediate problems there should be something in the toolkit for you.

She's not wrong. See you again in May.

Sarah Pickthall

Sync Coaching

(Oh and yes, we know it is now May! We weren't all too busy watching the royal wedding - honest. We had some technical gremlins we had to sort - all done now. Enjoy!)

Click here for the Business Survival Toolkit

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