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Sync: e-bulletin Oct 2011


Kickstarting the Intensives...

What do the cat from Aesops Fable, Mr Tumness, the witch from Hansel and Gretel, Little Bo Peep and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz have in common?

a drawing of little bo peep, in a green dress, looking for her sheep.

These storybook characters were just a few of those chosen by our Sync Intensives members when we met for the first time last week. We used them in the first part of the day, with objects that represented those characters as an interesting way to share our different leadership styles. People put forward their characters in ways which were both humorous and moving, often transcending the original story-lines.

“I don’t think I’ve lost my sheep, I’ve let them go, that’s part of what I do, give people a free rein.”

"I'm Dorothy and I’m nearing Oz - it's both a dream and reality. I know it's not going to be what it's cracked up to be…”

"I'm the Witch - I've brought sweets to entice people to my cottage. I entice people to our world, to the space we live in..."

The power of metaphor

...And metaphors like cats behind your smile, Each one wound up to purr, each one a pride, Each one a fine gold beast you've hid inside... (Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing)

geese flying in a v formation

Wikipedia defines a metaphor as a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea.

Within Sync, we have often used metaphor to explore concepts, ideas, leadership theories and our own perspectives. Often they help us present our thoughts in ways that are more easily understood by others.

For example, when we focused on shared leadership - we used the metaphor of geese flying.

To go straight to the article on geese...

When Jez Colborne wanted to describe his curious nature, always seeking out new experiences yet somehow watching from the outside, he spoke of it as being like a meerkat.

To go straight to Jez's article...

When we wanted a way to explore leadership theories of safety and exposure in organisational cultures, we talked of the plains and the caves.

To go straight to the plains and the caves article...

If you have not explored using a metaphor to think about your own leadership journey, why not try now? Can you think of a childhood story or nursery rhyme character that resonates with you, that you think could help you explore your own leadership style or context?

The leadership matrix

Three layers: yourself, your work, and your wider field of influence. Three columns: what you feel , what you do, and how you see and plan for the future.

A grid showing nine boxes, 3 layers and 3 columns.

We have mentioned the 9 box matrix of leadership before. It's a model created by Mark Wright of People Create, for the Cultural Leadership Programme.

It's a powerful way of looking at your current skills and seeing where further work might be benefical. Are there areas where development might be useful?

Like all tools, it's just a model - any benefit you may find is all about how you use it.

Why not refresh your memory about the matrix - or explore it yourself for the first time - and give yourself a chance to see yourself from a fresh perspective?

To go straight to the Sync article on the nine box matrix

What archetype are you?

a blurred drawing of a warrior

At our Sync Intensives day we built on both the matrix idea, and on our storytelling theme. We looked at some of the archetypes that can be seen spiralling through the nine box model. Some people move through these in order, and others choose to stay in one for most of the time they lead:

  • The Warrior has a strong focus on getting stuff done, making a difference, being competent, and delivering in the here and now. They have a strong focus on competency in the middle of the matrix

  • The Good King starts to think more about the future (strong on strategy) and the well being of others in their organisation or team. They are strong in the middle of the final strategy column.

  • The Mother focuses on emotional drivers (firstly need to know oneself, then this expands to care/concern for the real values of others). It's a nurturing phase, and very people focused. Strong in the middle of the first column

  • The Sage shows concern with wider issues, they want to share their knowledge and experience beyond an organisation; their work is about deepening impact and influencing beyond boundaries. They are strong in the top layer of the matrix, particularly the middle column.

Do any of these strike a chord with you? Do you recognise yourself here, or others that you work with?

And more...

Alison and Martin, plus support, from the initial Sync Intensives 2011 day

We also looked at what drives us - but more on that next month, when hopefully we should also have the first of our articles and case studies from the members of Sync Intensives to bring to you.

We asked each of those on Sync Intensives this year to share their thinking and experiences with the wider Sync network - and we are very excited about what they are planning to contribute!

But we'll all have to bide our time and wait patiently until next month - until then, have fun and keep safe.

All the best,

Jo Verrent and Sarah Pickthall


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