Snippet – No.10: Optimism

Snippet – No.10: Optimism

When I think back to March, when our worlds changed completely, I remember feeling a huge sense of worry, dread and fear – there were so many sleepless nights! I felt anxious about all the people who would become ill or lose loved ones, those on the front line, our economy… but also in a selfish way – how would I get through it on a personal level, trying to juggle work, home schooling our 7 year old while entertaining a 2 year old. It was hard to feel optimistic with so much uncertainty ahead.

Although it’s only been 2 months, it feels like a lifetime ago, and here we are now with a sense of our freedom returning and life resuming to a new kind of normality. And I’ll admit: I will miss lockdown. When will I ever get the opportunity to spend such a huge amount of time with my husband and our 2 daughters without having to share them with anyone else: no visitors, school run to rush for, or plans to make. I still don’t know what’s ahead, but we made it this far… and as much as I love being with my daughters, I am looking forward to having some time to myself soon!

Victoria Harflett
Customer & User Engagement CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
As George Harrison wrote in his song ‘All things must pass’ – “Sunrise doesn’t last all morning, a cloud burst doesn’t last all day… It’s not always going to be this grey.” Our mood and feelings are not permanent things – even if they feel it at the time. Thinking of the positives in a situation, even when it feels very bleak, can turn a negative into a positive.

Reflect
How has your mood changed during lockdown? What are the positives that have emerged for you?

Fix
If the you now could talk to the anxious or bleak you from the start of lockdown, what would you say? How can you use this wisdom the next time you are feeling anxious?

Snippet – No.4: Fairness

Snippet – No.4: Fairness

Growing up with 6 siblings has contributed to fairness being really important to me! But it’s not always easy to balance my own needs with the needs of others.

I give so much energy to everyone else: work, children, family, friends – that the intensity of attempting to balance that combination all at once, means the thing that has dropped in this period of lockdown is time for me. I’ve been neglecting myself, not giving myself time to work on my development and reflect on how I’m feeling.

Victoria Harflett
Customer & User Engagement CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
One of our definitions of fairness is “balances own contribution and needs with those of others”. If you don’t look after yourself in this challenging time you will become depleted and won’t be able to give to others. It is also the bringing together of self and other awareness.
 
Reflect
How good is your balance between self and others? Do you value yourself sufficiently to give yourself the time and attention you need? Or do you forget to notice how others are feeling and put yourself ahead of others?
 
Fix
Find one time each day to focus just on yourself e.g. your reflection time – AND one moment each day to ask the people you care most about how they are doing?

CharacterScope joins the Mayor’s International Business Programme

CharacterScope joins the Mayor’s International Business Programme

CharacterScope has been chosen to be part of the thirteenth cohort launch for the Mayor’s International Business Programme.

The programme includes 63 of London’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a range of scale-up companies included; smart batteries creators Addionics, retail research company Hoxton Analytics, health technologists Infinity Health and interior design company Lumsden Design. 

Leadership and organisational culture were common themes amongst the business leaders that attended the launch event at The Hilton London Tower Bridge, as they look to scale and expand overseas.

“We’re excited to be part of the programme and are looking forward to growing CharacterScope overseas and working alongside our fellow cohorts on their own scale-up journeys”

Paul Lancaster, Head of Business Development at CharacterScope

CharacterScope joins the Mayor’s International Business Programme

Investors talk about the entrepreneur as the lynch-pin. Are they right?

Will the real entrepreneur please stand up.
Mark Loftus for Startups Magazine.

“It may be a stereotype, but CharacterScope data has found that entrepreneurs tend to be low on perseverance and grit than most other leader types. They typically have a butterfly mindset, constantly flitting from one opportunity to the next.”

Common sense suggests that an entrepreneur is the lynch-pin of a startup. Investors often talk about the entrepreneur as being synonymous with startup and scale-up; the person they look to invest in. But are they right? 

To read the piece in full on the Startups Magazine website click here.

Building a culture of leadership

Building a culture of leadership

Scaling leadership development is the single fastest way to create new capabilities across an organisation. There is no ‘silver bullet’ to achieve this: coaching is a potential solution but not cost-effectively scalable and emerging digital products show promise, but remain untested.

Whatever the means of delivery, there is one certainty – when it comes to organisational life, culture drives everything. But the lack of solutions to scalable leadership development means that too many businesses end up with a  culture of ‘followership’ rather than ‘leadership’. With this, they lose their ability to draw everyone in the organisation to develop and perform to their full potential.

Can everyone be a leader?

One of the greatest challenges we face at CharacterScope is in tackling perceptions about the nature of leadership. The word ‘leader’ brings to mind those in positions at the top levels of an organisation. The idea of viewing everyone intrinsically as a leader can come across as idealistic and unrealistic. It also seems to underestimate the impact top level leadership has on a business.

Yet at its simplest level, leadership is a choice. We are leading every time we make a decision, push a conversation in a certain direction or go out of our way to support a colleague or friend. It is less about position and more about disposition. However, this philosophy instinctively seems incompatible with long-standing hierarchical systems. So let’s we reframe the question: if not leadership, does an organisation need followers?

Many leaders see it as their responsibility to energise their team to tackle and solve the operational problems, challenges and complexity which naturally arise in a business. But if the team has the capability to solve them, then why do they need motivating and inspiring? If leadership translates to action, then the risk with a follower mentality is that it naturally tends towards inaction. The result all too often is an abundance of watching, waiting, debating and uncertainty. And even worse, of people blaming and criticising their leaders for not being good enough – placing the reason for their own lack of motivation and satisfaction on their leaders.

A culture that sets direction

That is not to deny the critical impact of senior leaders: leadership culture is formed from the top down. Culture is effectively a self-supporting web of beliefs and behaviours. Over time these become leadership practices and eventually create an environment that attracts people who share their values. It is essential that an organisations culture aligns with their overarching business strategy: if the two are at odds, leaders at the top must recognise that change starts with them.

An interdependent leadership culture functions on the principle of leadership being a collective activity which strengthens the organisation as a whole. With a clear shared purpose, culture and values, the entire dynamics of an organisation become much more connected.

A culture that drives development

Leadership development revolves around recognising and unlocking potential: identifying our natural talents, having a vision of ourselves leading, and working to turn that vision into a reality. It is rooted in the mentality that each one of us already has natural strengths of character and that becoming a good leader is driven by service in the area of those strengths. 

Organisations that have a culture of leadership development use these principles to create a widespread understanding of each individuals’ value and unique contribution. This is not dependent on the time or money invested in tools: it is dependent on a culture that provides the right commitment, focus and environment.

Leadership capability needs time and space to grow and people must feel their growth is valued. They also need to be able to openly discuss and reflect on their progress and the obstacles they face and be able to experiment with new ideas. They must feel that management and their peers understand the importance of devoting time to development and have the freedom to do so.

A culture that drives performance

Building a leadership culture goes beyond investing in and mentoring the next generation of high performers. Organisations that prioritise leadership development lead in attracting, retaining, and nurturing the best talent. Top level leaders that have the self-awareness and put the time and energy into harmonising their organisational culture and their business goals create a more driven and connected organisation. A developmental mindset empowers that talent to go beyond their comfort zone, with an awareness of their natural strengths. A culture that embeds these principles inevitably drives a company to high performance. It tends to adopt core values. It inspires employee and client engagement. It aspires to lead in its industry. It organically fosters innovation and collaboration while recognising and unlocking potential.

Imagine an organisation full of people that understand their own value, the strengths of their peers and their potential. Where every team functions at peak performance, understands the organisation’s overarching business goals and has a true sense of purpose and direction. This is the catalyst for business transformation.