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Sync: e-bulletin November 2010


Time waits for no man

The pervasive sense of stress, rush and pressure in contemporary societies has become a subject of policy debates as well as of routine complaint. (Eva Hoffman, Time)

a skateboard with time waits for no man on it

What is it about this time of year? When the clocks go back, it always makes for a peculiar November with Father Time's finger perpetually on the fast forward button. Before we know it, we're running out of this year and teetering on the brink of the next.

Why does this happen, when science tells us that time ticks away in regular tocks? Time can't really speed up, but it certainly seems that it does.

Perhaps the changes in light and temperature have a part to play? Within our work lives, we too have changes in 'light' and 'temperature' - the conditions and context in which we are working. Perhaps now, we need to think hard about harnessing time, particularly in the light of so many unknowns in the year ahead of us.

This bulletin explores time itself (in these difficult times). We will be looking at the time we have and what we make of it and the moments that matter - when we harness it to best effect.

In retrospect

What philisophical fortification may be gained against its invisible laws and inevitable passage

a clock showing the numbers chasing around the dial

Eva Hoffman's book Time is a brilliant read.

It's a set of suggestions and provocations which allow us to become more intimate with time, asking how it shapes our lives and what have been our happiest dealings with it.

Eva Hoffman observes that time has become both more valuable and less attainable, as we all try to manage our communications virtually across email, facebook, twitter et al as well as maintain relationships face to face.

We think we're being more efficient, but for many of us, working on all these levels eats time.

Underpinning this is the glaring need for us all to take and make time to reflect. Whether this is gentle, unsheduled pondering or more formalised evaluating, taking time to learn from the past, is as important as it ever was, if not more. Only by reflecting and truly understanding what we do can we fuel the future, particularly a future that is, for many of us, so uncertain.


I've had a few... (Frank Sinatra)

a crackle of lightening and smoke to represent inspiration.

We can't all get everything right, all of the time. Having the confidence to own up internally to what you do less well is key.

Have you ever stopped to look at your work over the last month? What did you do really well, what was mediocre and what was simply below your own standards?

By regularly stopping and checking in on yourself you can start to make positive choices about your work and your skills in the next few months.

  • Do you want to get better at the areas you are bad at? Find time and ways to gain skills and experience.

  • Do you want to simply avoid them in future? Are there other people around you can delegate to, pay or skills swap with?

  • Or did you do some things less well because you were tired, overstretched, preoccupied or uninvolved? What can you learn from what happened to ensure that you don't put yourself in the position of doing poor work again.

Have you ever been so involved in doing what you do best, so in the zone, so focused and committed, that you have simply flown through time, demolishing deadlines and achieving far more that you originally thought could be expected?

Recognising these states, and the conditions in which they arise can help you maximise them, and their impact.

Put most simply - doing what you love is energising and enjoyable. Doing what you hate drains you and can drag you down.

Our diversity is our strength - if we eat, drink, travel, sleep and work differently, what on earth makes us think we'll be able to do everything else the same?

Some people love spreadsheets, others don't. Work out what you really enjoy, what you love doing, what you are passionate about - can you make that your unique selling point (usp)?

Make it work for you in the time you have. After all Sinatra made a whole career out of doing things his way.

Sync Intensive profile: Deepa Shastri

[Watching Tribes], it was as if something that had happened to me was being acted out on stage, and that somehow, I could see in front of me how difficult it is to be the only deaf member of a hearing family. It was no longer just my story. (Deepa Shastri)

photo of deepa shastri

Someone who is used to maximising her potential within very different jobs is Deepa Shastri.

Deepa has managed to find time to contemplate and reflect this month in pulling together our article and case study.

In coaching, as we know, we explore the times when we've been stopped or blocked and the survival skills we've developed along the way whilst putting these things into perspective.

Deepa take us on a journey through her childhood with its highs and lows, explaining how being the only deaf member within the family played its part in her journey to date, including her leadership journey.

This reflection was brought strongly into focus through her work on Tribes at the Royal Court recently.

Read more about Deepa

Deaf Leadership

I want to showcase other Deaf leaders as part of Sync to show and share the things we instinctively know as deaf people and our natural traits that help us win at this game! It's so important that we get where we want to be in our professional lives. (Deepa Shastri)

t shirt which says 'I'm deaf' on it.

In pulling together the article this month, Deepa has explored the idea of deaf leadership, and in particular the strategies that have allowed leaders to survive and compete in a hearing arena.

Deepa believes that the pursuit of leadership for deaf people is about understanding and finding a style that fits with the deaf experience and the individual qualities of the deaf person which may or may not be linked to deafness.

Her article is packed with techniques used by deaf leaders today to gain leverage and is invaluable for all of us.

Go straight to Leading with Deafness - Hidden Nation

And so

CLP logo

The Cultural Leadership Programme (CLP), who fund Sync, are surfing the waves of change, which is all about timing too.

They are part of the Arts Council and caught up in the decision making about cuts. No one knows what will happen to CLP beyond March.

Last week Sync attended an evaluation session, not about Sync, but about all the different programmes funded by the CLP. It was a great chance to sit in a room with the other programme partners and reflect across all the programmes and their impact.

CLP were praised for their flexible, responsive and risk taking approaches and for the changes that all the programmes had brought to the field. They are always championing diversity and have played a huge role in changing the make up of decision makers across the country.

It's looking likely that the next 18 months might be the most testing time the arts sector has ever known – as the Arts Council’s funding cuts and those from local authorities start to bite. There is an irony that CLP might disappear, just at the time when arts sector leadership might be most tested.

That's it from us for this month.

Keep an eye on the time, give yourself space to work out what you are good (and bad) at and get your surf boards out to ride the waves of change!

Sarah Pickthall

Sync Coaching

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