Sunday, 5 November 2017

So, who remembers this image? I can't remember not knowing it and its "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil," axiom.
On reflection, my life might had been a lot easier if I'd have applied it a little more often: however that's another article!

Ad Hominem Rules-Not Okay!

Across all media platforms it seems that it increasingly okay to attack the person instead of engaging in discussion about their idea(s) and that this is a legitimate way of dealing with dissent and difference. It isn't and it's dangerous.
It's dangerous because on a large political scale the personal attack becomes an integral part of a crazed pantomime. One in which an opposing narrative is a mere vehicle to deliver its author to a mocking tirade of cheap insults and lies to entertain one side whilst destroying the credibility of the other. "Say it long enough and loud enough and they'll believe anything!"
On a personal level, in our relationships and in the workplace, there are those who would rather keep silent about their best ideas than subject themselves to
  • Ridicule
  • Humiliation
  • Rejection
  • Abuse
  • Defamation
Please note, the above "Infamous Five", is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive, feel free to expand! My point is that is you seek to take away someone's voice you have effectively broken them, so don't expect too much from them.

So, what would he know?

Logician and philosopher Bertrand Russell had a few ideas about thinking, I guess it goes with the job. His view of our progress (sic) was informed by the movements between the forces of tyranny and anarchy and the importance of questioning assumptions and beliefs.
In 1951, he set out the following "Ten Commandments". At that point in our history the world was in the emergent grip of opposing forces; powerful Eastern and Western blocs, each increasingly capable of inflicting terrible damage on the other. We have made little if any progress.

Here they are.

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your spouse or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusionary.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.
They seem to sit comfortably across our work based, social and personal relationships and in so doing they carry risk. We maybe too often accept transient, comfortable capitulation by choosing to shy away from challenge because however good our intentions might be, our perceived will be frowned upon.
Much of our work is about creating thinking, discussion and dialogue: it takes place with work-place teams and individuals at a variety of positions within the organisation. I'm very tempted to produce Russell's Ten Commandments at one of our events with the question "So, how are we doing with these?"
.....I'll let you know how I get on!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Impostor Syndrome-The Dark Mirror!

I met up with a colleague for coffee. It was a “getting to know you better”’ meeting that is part of building quality relationships with people. I want to mention here and before I go on that this is a key part of developing powerful relationships. If you meet people with the sole intention of “selling at them” you need to prepare yourself for a lonely existence!

Now, my colleague is successful; he has developed and grown a business and is liked, trusted and sought after. Half way down my first Americano, he told me that he worried (and I mean ‘keep you awake at night’ worried) about being found out, wanting.

We talked a little longer and by Americano no.2 we’d established the reality of his situation – that things are positive, healthy and vibrant for him. Having come to this conclusion it felt only right to acquaint my partner in caffeine with what is called the Impostor Syndrome.

In the broadest of terms, Impostor Syndrome is a feeling of:

-       I’m not up to this
-       I will be found out
-       I am not worthy of this
-       There are better people than me

…I am sure you get the picture!

We talked our way through another high quality coffee and agreed the following plan:

He’d reflect on things
He’d share his thoughts with someone close to him
In this conversation he would be honest, open, candid
We’d meet again and if necessary put some actions in place
Next time, he buys the coffee!

After doing exactly that, the result was a relaxed, future focused and positive client! Great news for him and his family.

For me, I have the satisfaction of shifting a self-limiting belief, helping to free up some thinking as well as knowing that the only thing that might keep my colleague awake now is a coffee induced insomnia.

If you recognise the Impostor Syndrome within yourself or someone you know and want to have a chat about this or are interested in any other aspect of our work them please get in touch on 07984 409937 or email us at

Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Return of Saturday Jobs-That Should Solve Everything!

If you're in Birmingham you can rely on the Number 11 Bus. It goes around the City-The Outer Circle. It always leaves and always returns and the absence of one signals the impending presence of another.

Some years ago a group suggested that people might want to spend 11 hours on the Number 11 on the 11th of the 11th month-starting at 11:00 and finishing by 23:00.  I don't think it caught on for some reason even though participants were encouraged to take pictures and post them..Strange, I thought it was a winner!

Today on the Andrew Marr Programme, hosted by Eddie Mair, the newspaper reviewers considered how the return of Saturday Jobs would help young people to understand the importance of turning up on time, looking the part, knowing how to serve people and how to take instructions and so on: you get the drift. It was suggested that this would make them more employable.
Oh would it? It's the prospect of work that makes people employable.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Building Trust Piece By Piece!

How much complexity is the result of a collapse of trust and how confused and over wrought do things get because people don't trust each other?

We deliver facilitated approaches to sometimes complex situations and amongst the familiar themes the Collapse of Trust holds a significant position. 

There's a continuum of emergent dysfunction shown below and I wouldn't want to comment about its relevance to our personal lives!
It does however occupy a significant and interesting space in the working environment.

We know and understand from our practice that work and productivity become blocked and stymied by the absence of trust, beginning at the lower left side of the continuum, with multiple stop-off points that are context specific. They are the often "invisible predictors" of failure through absence of harmony that end with a collapse of workable emotional capital at the upper-right end of the continuum.

We achieve very little on our own and reliable, performing teams are ones that help each other. Lego is a successful company and its CEO has communicated a simple message along the lines of

"You won't be blamed for failure, you will be blamed for failing to ask for help or to give help when it was needed"

Now, I don't know about you but it's unlikely that I'll ask people who I don't trust to help me-I wouldn't want to be vulnerable to their next actions. But, if I feel that way I have to accept that people who don't trust me are unlikely to ask me for help. This situation is lose/lose and stuck.When we are either helped or helpers we give an opportunity to re-frame trust and in so doing open a very different relationship with our colleagues.

We are introducing the concept of trust building in a transparent and open manner into much of our mediation and facilitation work. We are pragmatic and understand that sometimes 

"Fixed enough has to be enough"

We remain clear in our belief that it remains difficult to reach and maintain the above point where there is no trust. So, wherever the end point, trust is an essential component of the energy and motivation that takes us there.

Here's a self check list-change it around a little and you can come up with an idea about how much/little you trust a colleague

  1. How much/often do my actions align with my words?
  2.  Do I do what I say I will do? Am I reliable?
  3. Am I up to the task/job/role? Do my competences and interactions support my intentions and the expectations of others?
  4. Do I care? Do I have the interests of others in mind as well as my own and how do they know?
Feel free to get in get in touch to explore how we might help you develop higher levels of trust in your workplace and free-up some powerful co-operation!

You can contact us on 

Thursday, 25 August 2016


In 1989 I was seconded into a two-year post in a West Midlands Local Authority. Here I met very, very few of the "timeserver stereo-types" and a significant number of dedicated and hard working people. Things moved at a different pace largely because........well a number of reasons really but here's a significant one

The technology involved in getting messages to people was pretty straight forward we could

someone and talk to them..........
Speak into one of these

And give the Mini Cassette to the supervisor of the people who worked these

And after a wait, very much decided upon by how important you were, you'd get your stuff back-a couple of days usually.
 Then you would re-check it and very often realise that you might not be conveying the intended message: wrong words, wrong phraseology, wrong context and vulnerable to misinterpretation. So you'd change it or decide another, more personal approach was more appropriate.

At DY3 Solutions we  deliver a significant amount of work related conflict resolution and mediation and guess what's at the bottom of a lot of the discontent, anger and hurt we see and hear expressed....................................These:

The combination of instant communication and the means to read it anywhere. And here's something else to consider:

The more names you add onto the CC line, the greater the potential to create offence and "hard to fix" fractures in relationships. It's a way of giving a public admonishment, of stating how right you are and how wrong the recipient might be.
  And once it's out there, it's out there.

As far as technology goes I wouldn't much like to go back to the late '80's. I like email and I get it. There are also times when I would happily dis-invent it. However those waits and delays gave time to reconsider and re-frame: valuable time. Time in which we might even

....and talk to each other.

If you need any help with work-based relationships, then please get in touch. Drop me an email and I'll get back to you. In the meantime, prune the CC lists and 

Before you press

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Trust. What Do You See, the Doughnut or The Hole?

If we ask the question

 "What must a team have to perform well?"

 I'm going to suggest that "Trust" will appear fairly high up the list.

We need also to incorporate "Optimism"-that the Team's purpose is a good one and that it honours

Our individual values
Team Values
Organisational Values

And we need to know that we're doing the right things for the right reasons.

Unfortunately, trust and optimism are easily manipulated to serve individual needs and ambitions. There are after all ample opportunities for some to pay lip service only to the idea of serving core values. Some organisations have set out to define what it is they mean by trust and integrity and their importance in shaping the expectations and experiences of their partners and stakeholders.

However, the building and maintenance of high quality internal trust is much harder than presenting positive external messages. The impact of hidden untrustworthiness on teams is destructive and will progressively annihilate purposeful alignments made by other team members. The manipulation or abandonment of trust reduces the chances of group success. The focus shifts to looking for what's not working rather than what is and members are vulnerable to becoming risk averse rather than risk aware as there is a reduction in their faith in others to support them when the going gets tough. Teams form within teams, individuals consider "What's in this for me?" rather than "How does this serve our group?" When this is the emergent case, expect the group/team purpose, to lose energy and to toxify: it's a great way of developing an 

"Optimism Free Zone"
(Oh yes, I'd love to work in one of those!)

Maybe you could propose to teams that they might want to consider something along the lines of:

"It is agreed that trust and integrity are essential components of a healthy, well-functioning team. How do we honour our commitment to trust? How will we talk about it and how will we challenge ourselves and each other when we feel trust has been compromised?"

Expect some interesting and thought provoking responses!