Friday, 26 August 2011

Reasons to be cheerful.....Part II

At the beginning of this year, my Father in Law was diagnosed with cancer of his liver.  This finding was completely unexpected.  Today I’m happy to report that he has remained completely clear of all cancerous cells for about 2-months now.  Amazing given the size of the tumour and his other medical conditions with which he suffers.  Added to this is his age of 72 years.   It’s remarkable what the medical profession can achieve these days.  That and his positive mental attitude that undoubtedly helped carry him through.  His wife, who has since been ordained as a Minister of the Church will have spent hours and days asking God.  And then equal if not more time thanking God for sparing him.  He’s now in really good health given what he’s been through.

Last week, a friend and respected colleague announced that he too had just been diagnosed with cancer.  Being a religious man he asked for prayers to be said to help both himself and his family at this time of struggle.  I spoke with him just this week and was bowled over at how up-beat he was.  Determined to fight his condition, up for the challenge and extremely focused on the battle that lies ahead of him.  His name is Mike and he’s started his own blog to document his thoughts and feelings which he has graciously allowed me to link to here:

Some good news though, Mike found out yesterday that his initial diagnosis and prognosis is not as bad as it first appeared.  He still has cancer, but his type of cancer does not appear to be as aggressive as he and the physicians first thought.  This is fantastic news.  

I was brought up by my Grandmother who used to drag me to church every Sunday to attend Mass at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in North Wales.  I hated going for many reasons.  It was a long walk to get there.  Worse in the winter months and worse still because I was never allowed to eat anything until we eventually returned home again because we would be taking Communion.  At 8-years of age I had no idea what was being said nor why my Grandmother who barely had enough money to put food on the table, used to hand over little envelopes of cash to the Priests each week.  Especially as most of them used to reek of stale tobacco or booze or both!

It’s a funny thing religion.  I’m not knocking it and I fully appreciate and respect the faith people have in their Gods.  I don’t really buy-in to it being the cause of all wars because in my view, that’s down to the people using it as a vehicle for violence and hatred – it’s not the religion per se.  I’ve always wondered why, if God exists, good people are made to suffer such horrible illnesses like cancer.  I’ve been even more perplexed as to how such people take an even stronger grip  on their faith when they’ve been blighted by such things when I would be asking ‘Why me?’  ‘Haven’t I served you well for all these years?’

But I guess it’s a mindset.  A total belief despite whatever is happening in their worlds they still have faith that God will do what is right irrespective of the final outcome.

Faith, hope, even glory.  It’s what drives people on to succeed and beat the odds.  It’s the faith in God, oneself, the team, the systems of management and processes that appear to work.  Who would have thought 50-years ago that we would have advanced at the rate we have as a collective of mammals; mere mortals?  But somebody somewhere had the belief.  No one ever achieved anything by not daring to believe; to dream; to hope, overcome and achieve.

When all is dark around you, whatever your circumstances; however slim your chances of achieving your dream; it’s important to believe.

Wishing you every success in all that you do,


Friday, 5 August 2011

Reasons to be cheerful ... Part I

It’s Friday! 
Granted, it may not be Friday where you are but Fridays for me are my favourite day of the week.
Not because it signals the end of my working week but because generally, people usually appear to be happy that it’s the beginning of the end of their working week. 
Moods seem brighter; people seem to have a renewed energy to focus-in on the work that needs to be completed before the weekend arrives.  There are conversations about plans for the next two days, a fairly genuine interest in each other’s short-term objectives develops and these discussions invite colleagues to share information about life outside of the working environment.  Some choose not to disclose too much, others will share all of the details – either way, the benefit is that people become more ‘humanized’ and often allow people to get a glimpse of their interests, hobbies and family life.  Subjects that wouldn’t usually surface during discussions over a complex spreadsheet on a Tuesday afternoon!
It’s important to get to know each other at work.  If you know what someone likes then you can sometime make reasonably safe assumptions about what they don’t like.  And so you can begin to build up a picture of their values, beliefs, motivating factors and internal drivers.  Hugely important snippets of information can be shared during these casual encounters. 
You see Jane at the water cooler and ask her what her plans are for the weekend.  Jane is having her elderly mother over to stay until Sunday.  You ask where her mother lives and find out that it’s at least 100 miles away.  Jane’s mother can’t make her own way over because she’s ill, too frail and lives on her own.  So you’ve now learned it’s possible that Jane must at times feel the pressures of having a sick and elderly parent living alone miles away from her.  You realise that  Jane will probably be worried about the journey she needs to take in order to collect her mother and drive her back to her own house.  How does Jane’s young family cope with having an elderly and sick relative staying over?  How will Jane get her mother back to where she lives before the new working week commences? 
Is there anything you can do to help Jane?  Could you let Jane leave early today?  Could you allow Jane to come in a little later on Monday?  Is Jane really okay? 
You get the drift, right?
Of course, I’m not suggesting that you hold weekly interrogative interviews with every member of your workforce!  Nor am I suggesting that you will always be in a position to help.  In many cases, you’re offers of assistance will most likely be declined anyway.  You must tread carefully but the fact that you are listening to what’s being said will provide you with the opportunity to show that you care.  That you are reinforcing the psychological contract between you and the person that you’re working with and importantly, that you understand that life goes on outside of the workplace.  You realise the overall impact of continual outside pressure will inevitably start to manifest itself at work.  And let’s face it; employees usually leave their place of employment because of the attitudes of their managers.  If you’re in any relationship where it’s made clear that the opposite number doesn’t give a hoot about you then the writings on the wall so to speak.  It’s only a matter of time before the relationship ends.
Care for your people.  It’s your job!

Wishing you a very happy and safe weekend and all the best in all that you do.