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Sync: e-bulletin January 2011 easy read


Happy New…

Good dog!

a photo of Random the puppy

Happy New Year – did you make a new years resolution?

(A resolution is something you promise to do this year.)

My new year resolution was to get a new dog and so I got a puppy! We have called him Random.

This month I am staying at home and training him. He’s gorgeous, but exhausting… and great for helping me think about leading!

Ready to find out about leading the dog training way? Well…. SIT!

Starting at the bottom...

a signpost banning dogs from pooing.

Getting a dog to learn to wee outside is hard work.

You have to have three things in your head at the same time:

  • What has happened so far?
  • What might happen next?
  • What is the dog doing now?

You can’t give yourself an hour off, or think ‘that’s enough for today, I’ll stop for now and start again tomorrow’.

To train a dog quickly you have to give it 100% of your attention.

For me, it’s the same when I take on a new piece of work – I have to give it all my attention until I know what I need to do.

Mistakes will still happen and sometimes the dog will wee inside. When a mistake happens you have to remember that you are the one who made a mistake, not the dog.

This is good for me to remember too – it's very easy to blame others for mistakes when things go wrong. Instead I need to think about what I did wrong. What could I have done which might have made a difference?

One step at a time

Sandy and Annie, from the film version of Annie

Random has been with us for less than a week.

He can sit and stay for a few seconds – he is a quick learner!

My kids would love him to be able to roll over, to fetch toys back, to shake paws – and I’m sure he will learn these things soon - but it takes time. Little steps move you forwards.

A dog can’t do big tricks if he doesn’t know his name and how to sit still. Work on the basics and when they are right add on – slowly, slowly, slowly.

I can think of lots of times at work when I have charged ahead, not looking behind me to see if anyone else had even understood what I wanted them to do. Ooopppps!

If you want to learn 'bigger tricks' - take it slow and keep everyone you are working with in the picture too. Let them know what you are doing and why.

Susan Austin, who is on Sync Intensives, is our case study this month. She takes us through her journey so far. She has taken it one thing at a time and she thinks Sync has really helped her.

To read Susan Austin's case study...

Passing over the power

My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog already thinks I am. (Author Unknown)

a cartoon showing people around you

I said before that you needed to be 100% responsible all the time when training a puppy. What I mean is that someone needs to be 100% responsible at any time.

You've got to pass over the power or you are going to be exhausted - and that's no good to anyone.

So who is around you that you can 'pass the power' over to?

For many leaders, supporting and helping others is really important to the way they lead. Other people find it harder to share the power.

People can share in different ways - sometime they make teams of people to work with, sometime they pass on little bits of the power to different people, sometimes people make sure they have the right people around to support them.

In this month's article, Anouk Mishti talks about how coaching changed her and her work, and how she realised the power of having people around her.

To go straight to the coaching article...

Leaving well alone

Let sleeping dogs lie (English saying).

a sleeping dog lying comically on its back

Have you heard people say 'let sleeping dogs lie'?

It means leaving things well alone - if it's all calm, why make a fuss?.

The first night we had our new puppy I slept downstairs in case it was lonely (soft? who me?).

The second night I slept upstairs but came down half way through the night to check on a puppy who was fast asleep. He wasn't whining or barking or even awake. Two minutes later he was awake though - and stayed awake for the next three hours! The end result was that I lost the rest of the night's sleep, both Random and I were tired the next day, and it was my fault!

There are times when we need to leave well alone - not disturb the peace just for the sake of it. This doesn't mean ignoring things that should be sorted, but simply means not meddling in things that we don't need to - don't stir up trouble just because you can!

For me in my work, this makes me think about something we have written about in Sync before. We all need to take time to think before we jump to action.

We need the time to think about what we can do that would be best.

Sometimes this time shows us we don't need to get involved - we can let sleeping dogs lie!

Enjoy yourself

It's a great feeling - a puppy licking your face.

a photo of a dogs nose very near the camera

Ok - last dog related thing here.

Do you know - dogs can help people who are sad?

Dogs can make you calm and make you feel better. The fact that they need walking and regular feeding, means that people who own dogs have lots to think about, which can make them less sad.

We are not saying everyone needs to get a dog, but everyone should make sure there are things in your life that you love and that are good for you!

I can over work - do too much and get too tired. Having a dog is good for me as I have to plan my day better. I can't sit at the computer for hours on end, I have to get up and walk around - indoors and out.

I feel so much better for it and my work gets better too. Everyone wins!

Link to an article on depression and dog therapy

Sync Thinking...

a photo of the Sync notebook

Sync are having a small event on 8th March, at the Wellcome Centre in London.

We want to look at what has changed over the last few years for disabled people who lead and ask the question - has Sync made a difference?

Speakers include:

  • Caroline Cardus (visual artist who recently won a residency at the Baltic through Shape’s Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary),

  • Rachel Gadsden (the first artist in Residence for Parlimentary Outreach, who recently gained a Without Walls Commission for a new outdoor performance),

  • Simon McKeown (DADAFest’s artist of the year 2010 whose digital art piece Motion Disabled was shown in 17 countries simultaneously on Dec 3rd 2010),

  • Jenny Sealey MBE, Artistic Director of Graeae and her protégée Rachel Bagshaw who is now directing at the Young Vic,

  • Mark Barbar, learning disabled dancer and employee of Anjali Dance

  • Stephanie Fuller, Head of Development, Arts Council England, South East,

  • Deepa Shastri, who has undertaken a Leading in London Placement at LOCOG/Shape and also works for STAGETEXT,

  • and Jon Adams, Artist in Residence at University of Portsmouth and currently involved in a number of projects linked to the Cultural Olympiad in the South East, including encouraging large numbers of people to create forests of flags from books.

The day will be filmed to go on the Sync website - but if you want to come along, please email to see if there is space.

And finally, remember, if you fancy a Sync notebook, we still have some left. You have to ask for two though - one for you and one to pass on to someone else you think might find it useful. You can get them by emailing

That's it for now

Have a great February!

Jo Verrent

Sync Project Manager

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