The Grit In The Oyster is an exploration of the challenges in organisational life that most of us find testing. These challenges range from so-called negative experiences such as conflict, complaints, dealing with staffing issues or the spectre of failure, to more tantalising endeavours such as achieving our organisational vision or connecting deeply with our mission - bringing the best out in our staff and realising our own personal potential.
While our resumes diligently record our years of experience in various roles, they tell little about who we are. They are scant on information about how we have dealt with the unique challenges experience brings. They can’t record the moments when we had to dig deep to find what we were made of. This blog investigates some of those moments and stories.
In my work as a coach and consultant, I meet individuals who are worn down by the people they work with, the delays and obstacles they encounter. I also meet individuals who have that unmistakable spark, access to inner resources and ways of thinking that sustain them despite decades on the frontline, and in some cases histories of enormous adversity. And then there are the self-starters who have surprisingly limited credentials for the work they’ve bitten off, yet are focussed and confident, with a clear sense of their mission in life.
While many incubate brilliant ideas; what does it take to turn dreams into success? How do we ride the ups and downs of life in business and manage to stay on the wave? How can we find and stay true to the deep vein from which our leadership arises?
Over the coming months The Grit In The Oyster will explore themes including leadership, power, influence, diversity, creativity, change, bullying, conflict and resilience.
There are ways of engaging with experience that empower us and there are ways of responding to challenges that defeat and deplete us. It’s our relationship to external events that determines whether they are an impetus for our development or a crisis.
The Grit In The Oyster goes in search of the secrets of resilience and growth, even in some of the most trying aspects of organisational life.
Though experiences themselves can be important, my primary interest lies in what we do with them – how we elicit their true value.
A fundamental premise underpinning my work is that life’s challenges are meaningful. Our task is to discover that meaning, to put our experience to work for us, by searching for its gifts – sometimes in the most unlikely places.
Carl Jung, the father of Jungian psychology declared that the major torment is the torment of not understanding. The Grit In The Oyster investigates ways of understanding our experiences on the job. It investigates diverse organisational experiences – both those that attract us and those that disturb us – as a stimulus to our growth and development as leaders, colleagues and impassioned employees.
The Grit In The Oyster examines the small moments, ripe for exercising a choice, between becoming reactive or embracing a situation. It uncovers aspirations that activate our potential. It revisits perennial issues that demand greater flexibility in the way we think about and approach our work.
This blog investigates events that take us by surprise and cause us to question how we see ourselves as individuals, as leaders and as champions of change. It considers crises in the form of major fallouts, defeats, bankruptcy and wake-up calls that can tip either way. These events can render us victims – beaten, resentful and bitter or prompt us to radically transform the way we view ourselves, and relate with ourselves, our core business, our colleagues and employees.
My goal in writing The Grit In The Oyster is to equip leaders and anyone interested in empowering themselves, their workplaces and communities to engage meaningfully with provocations. They hold invaluable information about our own promise, capacities and blindspots. However to elicit their potential, we must know how to read the signals encoded in these events.
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