Are you great at giving advice and terrible at following it? My godfather’s cheeky response to hearing about my job as a workplace consultant was “Oh, so you’re being paid to give advice that no one wants?”. This is classic of his sense of humour. It could also be true. So, this year I’m going to make sure to take my own advice and see if it really can make a difference in the way I believe it will. Practice is always better than theory.

How I plan to create a better world of work in 2019:

1. Do meetings better using Liberating Structures

In my work I hear the word “collaboration” get thrown around a lot. Every executive team wants so see more of it in their organisation. But what does it mean to collaborate more? More meetings? Less time to just knuckle down and get things done?

Instead of more collaboration, how about starting with better collaboration? Collaboration takes many forms, but when people come to meet face to face, we typically see teams revert to one of just a handful of formats, be it the classic brainstorm session, a <<yawn>> coordination meeting with an agenda and minutes, the over-shoulder-chat at your colleagues desk, or the dreaded <<finger quotes>> “open discussion”, where egos come out to play.

Like in the Agile project management world where Ceremonies add a little more structure to fast-track the act of working together, Liberating Structures (LS) fast-track collaboration, diminish predetermined outcomes and dominating voices, and tap into the glorious collective intelligence of a group, leading to potentially surprising new directions.

At the end of the last year I started to use the ideas of LS to run better client workshops and internal team meetings, with hugely positive feedback. This year, I am attending a three-day workshop with LS co-founder and author of the book The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures, Keith McCandless, to learn how I can apply the ideas more effectively and expand my repertoire.

Read more about LS here:

2. Get more out of my work relationships with Matrix Leadership  

If you put all the best ideas about team performance, interpersonal relationships, leadership development, feminism, systems theory, organisational psychology, and non-violent communication into a blender, you would get a superfood smoothie called Matrix Leadership, founded by Amina Knowlan.

Amina has been helping my team to better understand: what a relationship even is (for the computer programmers out there, she describes it as a “first class entity”); how to use skillful feedback to maintain the quality of all the relationships in the team (in our small team of 8 there are 28 different relationships!); the distribution of both formal and informal roles; the value that can be found in differences and dilemmas, and the astonishing power of communication norms.

This year I will start to build up a collection of “little practices” to integrate Matrix Leadership principles into my interactions with colleagues and clients. From choosing to connect directly person-to-person, rather than adressing a whole group; to tuning in to the quality of a relationship, rather than in to how I feel about something.

Read more about Matrix Leadership here:

3. Look after my wellbeing by getting enough sleep

Last year I started to build healthier habits in a quest to feel unburdened in my body and mind. First, I kicked out sugar from my diet (goodbye 10kgs and cravings), then I began morning meditation (hello peace of mind), and lately I’ve been getting into the great outdoors way more often (how’s the serenity?!). These steps have had revolutionary effects on me, and my colleagues have noticed how much happier and energised I am.

The next big one is going to be getting my sleep organised so that I know that whatever I do today, tomorrow I can start off feeling fresh. I have read that sleep is so important for people that it is considered secondary only to water and air. I would have thought maybe coffee might have come in third but no, it’s sleep. Poor sleep is linked to impaired focus, impaired ability to learn new skills, impaired energy production, impaired heart health, impaired muscle growth, fat gain and inflammation. I get my information about health and sleep from health science research obsessives who are looking at all the latest research papers, assessing them for quality and sifting out the facts from the fantasies.

Currently I’m doing all the “wrong” things when it comes to sleep: I never go to bed at the same time, I watch too many screens close to bed time, and worst of all, I sleep on my front all the time. My neck is ruined. So, this year I’m going to work on building up the right sleep habits and see what impact it has on my engagement and productivity at work and my overall happiness and sense of wellbeing.

This is going to be my approach based on what’s important for me right now, but what will your contribution be to a better world of work in 2019? 


Read other blogs on this subject here:

What a better world of work looks like and how do we get there?  Jarryd Gillen

A better world of work.  Allison Tsao

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How to change the world of workMillennials in the workplace