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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Does the leadership hat fit you?

Kevin Gaskell PhotoTwo years ago I sponsored a young guy to help him to achieve his dream of building ‘the best gardening destination in Britain’.  I liked his clear vision of what he wanted to create and his plan of how he would do it.

Did we envisage that the worst British weather on record would stack up as a serious business challenge?  No.  Did my protégée sulk, complain or decide to give up when the recession meant that the market dropped by 30%?  No.  Instead he stepped up, put on the leadership hat and made sure it fit him really well.

What does that mean?  It means that he has proved that he has what it takes to engage his team, inspire them to tackle the challenge and support them in overcoming it.

A leader has commitment to his (or her) vision and the commitment to achieve it.  A problem becomes an opportunity to demonstrate how it is possible to succeed.  A leader focuses on the problem and is creative, determined and single-minded in solving it.

A leader acts.  He sees the big picture and is ready to take a new approach to transform the business.

A leader won’t acknowledge that ‘it can’t be done’.  He doesn’t quit when things get tough and his positive approach is the pattern that the team follow.

A leader recognises achievers and removes those who hold back progress and aren’t actively moving things forwards.  Making tough decisions is all part of the role.

Leaders have vision, but are realistic; they are relentless, compassionate, focused and inclusive.

Every successful leader is also a dreamer.  They turn their dreams into achievable goals and inspire ‘followership’ to help achieve them.  Does the hat fit you?

North Pole Au Revoir

The weather in the UK is freezing and so I’m off on vacation – to walk to the Geographic North Pole with my 22 year old son Matt.

In 2006 I walked to the North Pole and then in 2009 Matt and I walked to the Geographic South Pole to raise funds for the North Wales Cancer Treatment Centre. This was in memory of my sister Jayne who died of leukaemia. As a result of the generous sponsorship we received we were able to support the construction of the Eria ward (snow in Welsh) at the NWCTC.
The ward is now up and running and providing critical treatment to thousands of patients each year.  So a huge thank you to everyone who helped.

This time we are doing it purely for fun. A quick two week run in, each pulling sledges with 80kg of supplies and then, hopefully, a lift off the pole by a Russian Scientific Survey helicopter. We will phone back by satellite phone each day and provide a fun filled update. We can’t send photos but will give you an idea of our holiday with photos from last time – the snow hasn’t changed very much! See you in 3 weeks or so. Enjoy the cold. Downside is it is minus 30C before wind chill at the pole today (your home freezer is at minus 18), upside is no emails for 3 weeks!