Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

What’s the Team Vision?

February 19, 2013


It’s quite commonplace for a school or organisation to have a vision, and previous blog posts have discussed why this is useful and how you might go about creating and implementing one.

But what about the teams within the school? The Key Stage teams, for example. What is their vision – if, in fact, they have one?

Personally, I see no reason why teams within a school shouldn’t have their own vision, provided it supports the school’s overall vision.

Here’s an exercise that you can do with your team to develop the team vision.

Developing the smaller team vision

  • Split into groups of 3 or 4
  • Ask them the question: “What do you want our team to achieve by the end of this term / school year?”
  • Alternatively, ask: “What do we want the children in our team to have achieved by the end of this term?”
  • Tell each group to prepare a news report that will outline the team’s success at the end of the given time scale.
  • Encourage them to be creative and think wider than they’ve done previously
  • Remind them it’s not just about numbers/results!!
  • Encourage them to draw on team members’ strengths and aspirations when considering what can be achieved

Share and compare the news reports. This can prove quite interesting, as you could get lots of different reports! But what’s most useful is that ideas & strengths will come from it that were previously untapped or unknown.

This then opens up the discussion within the team about what your vision could be. At this point, you may decide to share the whole school vision and see how the team vision could support it.

I’ve had some interesting outcomes when doing this exercise with teams, as well as a lot of fun! It’s a great collaborative exercise to bring teams together, as well as build relationships with new teams.

If you try this – I’d love to hear how it went!

Thinking of developing your school teams?

Call me to find out more and discuss your options

Connecting with the real you

August 1, 2012

When we’re in the thick of it at work we often find ourselves being pulled in different directions, with different demands on our time and energies. We are different things to different people. We rarely have time for ourselves.

So when your holiday comes around, who do you become? What’s your default position? And is this the real you?!

Do you prefer a more relaxing time?

Or something more energetic / adventurous?

Or is it all about quality family time?


I tend to go for a mixture of all 3! I like my “me time” – where I reflect on the past few months, what I’ve achieved, and where I want to go next (business; health/well-being). I also like to reconnect with what’s important, my values, and ensure that these are being catered for in my plans for moving forward.

I usually combine this with being out and about, going places I’ve never been before, taking photos and soaking it all up. New experiences feed the soul. Love this view we discovered recently of Chatsworth grounds from a ‘secret pond’ we’d never have discovered had we not been walking the dog nearby.

Sometimes you don’t have to go far to discover something new!

Quality time with family and friends is also high on the agenda around this time. I always enjoy my trips to visit family – spread all over the country from the NE to Poole in Dorset. Recent experiences have nailed home that life is short, and we should both embrace it and have no regrets.

I feel that I connect more with the ‘real me’ when I am having a break … I have more space to reflect and plan.

What about you?

De-cluttering Part 1: The physical stuff and tipping points

April 6, 2011

I’ve spent quite a lot of my spare time recently clearing out old books, clothes, games, ornaments, etc., and generally spring cleaning. During this process I’ve been considering why, every so often, we feel the need to de-clutter. Not everyone is the same, and what constitutes ‘clutter’ for one person might not be for others.

So how do we define clutter for ourselves, and what makes us feel the need to de-clutter?

A dictionary definition states clutter is a “disorderly heap” and “a state or condition of confusion”. The first deals with the physical aspect (a clutter of ‘things’), the second suggests clutter within the mind.

In terms of physical clutter, I know people who function effectively with plenty of ‘stuff’ around them … various heaps of paper, files, etc.  A previous mentor of mine operated in what others called a cluttered environment. He would argue that he could find logic and order in the clutter; he needed the clutter to find patterns and answers to work-related tasks / challenges. He was the most creative mentor and line manager I’ve ever had!

You may be nodding and agreeing, “this is me, too”; or you may be thinking “I couldn’t work like that”. Either way, I suggest you know your boundaries and there’s an inherent tipping point beyond which you can no longer function effectively – at home or at work.

What’s your de-cluttering tipping point?

The tipping point may well be different for home than it is at work. (I’d be interested to hear from those who also work from home!) It is when we reach, or even pass, this point that the urge to de-clutter kicks in. It’s about knowing when your ‘stuff’ is becoming a distraction (i.e. clutter), resulting in making you unproductive.

Some possible tipping points:

– not being able to find what you are looking for within a few seconds

– not having enough room for the things you have

– thinking “this is a total mess!”

– other people telling you your space / area / room is a mess (here you are responding to other people’s tipping points!)

What are your tipping points for the physical stuff?

Do you consider yourself a creative person? If so, can you function effectively with lots of things around you?

Once you’ve recognised your tipping point, will you go beyond it and procrastinate about doing something?

Would love to hear your comments.

Part 2 will focus on the mental clutter, alluded to earlier.

How Smart are SMART Goals?

January 17, 2011

In my New Year’s Resolutions are Ineffective blog I revealed one of the top tips of coaches (from a recent survey/discussion forum) were for goals to be SMART, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. However, there was some debate around this and some coaches felt the process was restrictive, and more suitable to short-term task-focused goals only. The SMART process lacked room for creativity and imagination.

Perhaps the best way to explore this debate further is to take one of my goals for 2011 and apply SMART to it, then see how restricting (or otherwise) it feels.

Goal area: Developing my blog writing skills and frequency of posts

Applying SMART …

Specific: To be writing at least one blog entry per week by the end of March 2011, and feel content with what I have produced

Measurable: I can measure it in terms of evidence of weekly production, although I would need to explore what ‘content’ means for me, perhaps being able to give my efforts a 7/10 or above would mean I am content (?)

Achievable: It’s achievable in that I have the skills to write a blog and have written blogs in the past. I also have the time and material to write one per week.

Realistic: It seems a realistic goal. I am not over-stretching my skills or giving myself an unworkable target.

Time-bound: I have a time scale of the end of March, and want to have published a blog weekly during March to say I’ve achieved this goal.

OK, so having applied SMART – how do I feel about it? To be honest, it feels clearer and more focused, but not particularly exciting. I think it takes me beyond my comfort zone and into my stretch zone (which is where I believe goals should be) but will it inspire me to go beyond that? Will I want to sustain it and aim for ‘new heights’?

For me, a goal needs to be exciting and motivating, so this goal will need more work. I believe it’s part of a bigger picture, a bigger goal … one that will be part of my CPD. What will help me, perhaps, as a starting point is to answer the following questions:

1. What values does this goal support?

2. What are the benefits of achieving this goal (including personal growth benefits)?

3. What new skills / knowledge will achieving it give me?

4. What else could it lead to?

5. What will my reward(s) be for achieving it? (I know here that achievement will be reward in itself, but it will be nice to have something to look forward to, so I will come up with a tangible reward too!)

To conclude, I think SMART applied to this particular goal is relevant but it has its short-comings, and I think is restricting.

I’m interested to hear whether you apply SMART to your goal-setting process, and how it works for you. please feel free to comment below.

*Thanks to David Clutterbuck for his comments and insight into SMART and goal-setting.

Photo above courtesy of jscreationzs /

Ever tried blog-ironing?

May 1, 2010

So what is “Blog-ironing”? Well for me it’s the same as blog-hoovering, blog-dusting/cleaning, blog-gardening …. in fact blog-anything that doesn’t involve much thought, and where you have the time and mental space to think of things other than what you’re doing.

I’ve sat down many times at my computer with the intention of thinking of content for my first (and subsequent) blogs only to find I go blank. Yet when I engage in something like ironing, I find my mind wandering off and being creative.

So now when I set up the ironing board, get out the hoover, or gardening gloves, I also make sure I have a pen and notebook to hand, so I can capture anything creative or thoughtful ideas before they disappear. Not all of them will end up as a blog, I’m sure.

Perhaps it’s also something to do with being quite kinaesthetic. I learn better when I am doing things.

To anyone reading this who “blogs”, I am interested to hear how you get yourself into a blogging-mindset. Where does your inspiration and/or motivation come from? Do you open up a bottle, ensure an inspiring view, put on your favourite music, wait for events to come along to write about, or create them? Perhaps it’s a combination of the above, or something else.