Friday, 28 September 2012

Of a Sharp Start to the Weekend

"Is that Barry Phillips?"." It is" I sleepily replied. "The alarms at Legal-Island have went off at 5.30a.m". the voice on the end of the phone declared. I checked the time. It was 5.31a.m. I scrambled out of bed remembering that there had been 2 burglaries on the road next to Island thinking that this time it could  be for real. I threw on a shirt and fleece, jeans and footwear. The Crocs were replaced halfway down the stairs by a firmer pair of shoes just in case I had to deliver a kick to the family jewels of any unsuspecting burglar.
I jumped into the car and arrived at Island at 5.36a.m., precisely. For any police that may be reading this blog this time statement includes a typo.
I checked outside the building for any sign of broken entry. There was none. Starring inside through a window I could see no sign of a random torch light, no intruders, nothing that looked at all untoward.
As I entered the building a voice from the alarm system was shouting firmly "Intruder, intruder, intruder, leave immediately". I walked around. Again, no sign of a break-in.
Next dilemma. Go back to bed or make the most of the long day? I'm trying the latter whilst reserving the right to change my mind and change a long day back into a shorter one.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Of Coaching Habits

Today, I completed day one of a 3 day coaching course. The skills taught are quite similar to those you learn on the way to qualifying as a mediator. There's listening skills, summarising, empathizing and a raft of other techniques you'd find in a book on EI, NLP or Communication Skills.
It's one thing learning coaching techniques but it's quite another to remember to use them. For this I guess I need a book that has just landed on my desk direct from Amazon entitled "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. According to its cover this is a book that explains why habits exist and how they can be changed transforming businesses communities and our lives.
So I've got work to do. 2 more days of this course and a book to read by which time I should be in the habit of coaching colleagues. Lets hope I learn how to switch off the coaching button too lest friends and family get blasts of it as well.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Of A Revolution Going On

We're full out this week preparing for a big event tomorrow : "The Resolution Revolution". This conference has snowballed from a wee idea we had in March/April of this year to an event which has now sold out with over 110 people attending. We have a great line up of speakers a really important message to give and a good number of important organisations represented tomorrow.
The pressure is on here at the Island. But we like pressure. Bring it on!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Of The King of the Quiz Show!

I was out for dinner last night with an old friend of mine and Legal-Island, Paul. Paul is always great company and a true gentlemen but I discovered something about him last night I never knew. On the way back from the restaurant we decided we should patronise the local hostelry for to check the quality of its pints of the black stuff.
We happened upon a "Quiz Night" that was in full swing and took to the corner of the pub so as not to interrupt those who were taking it very seriously - and there were a good few of them.
The rest of the evening went something like this :
Quiz Master : "Who invented the mini skirt"
Paul "Oh that will be Mary Quant"
Quiz Master "Which Beetle married last"!
Paul "On that'll be Paul McCartney"
Quiz Master "Who was the lead singer of the Specials"
Paul "Ah sure that'll be Terry Hall"
Quiz Master "Where's the La Scalla Opera House"
Paul "Oh that'll be Milan"

And so the night continued. Eventually we left with us both feeling much the wiser but for very different reasons..

Friday, 14 September 2012

Of The Four Hour Body Part II

I've been practising my total immersion style swimming this week as advised by Ferris in "The Four Hour Body". It's going slowly but well. This week I've been concentrating on my breathing. He advises that you breathe out in the water before taking a slug full of air as you rotate your head around. This I'm doing and breathing out through my nose which for some reason I find much easier. It is also a practise that creates far fewer bubbles than exhaling through your mouth allowing you to see where you're going which is no bad thing either.
At the end of my 40 lengths I stopped and asked the guy in the lane next to me (a fine swimmer and triathlete) whether he had ever heard of "total immersion swimming".He said he had and that his friend swears by it. As we talked I noticed an odd shape behind his right ear under his swimming cap. Upon inquiry he promptly produced what he said was a "wetometer" which can be set to click at a rate you want your arms to enter the water. He said you can also get a gadget to count the laps for you as you do them which works by adding one lap each time it detects you've changed direction.
It's a complicated process swimming nowadays. It's changed a bit since the day I first got in a pool with goggles that flooded with water the moment you put them underwater.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Of Another Four Hours

I'm currently reading The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferris. I have to admit to being quite a follower of Ferris for I got huge amounts from his book The Four Hour Work Week when I read it last year.
The bye-line to the book on the front cover explains that it is "An uncommon guide to rapid fat-loss incredible sex and becoming superhuman" so fairly bold in its ambitions.
Aside from the naughty bits in the book (and there are a good few of those) there are also chapters on getting the perfect night's sleep, reversing injuries and swimming effortlessly in just 10 days. This last chapter interests me greatly. He claims to have progressed from being a hopeless swimmer who struggled to do two lengths at a time to someone who was swimming 40 lengths of a pool and then 2 miles in open water within just two months. He does his best to describe the method of swimming he recommends but four still photos of a guy in the water accompanied by some narrative doesn't help very much. Here's hoping Googling his sources will lead me to a video clip online which will make me a super fast swimmer and the envy of the early morning pool boys. Why do I doubt it all somehow?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Of A Revolution Going On...

It's September - the beginning of the "Silly Season" at work. This is when we all put our heads down for 3 months and go for it and do one big event after another. The first big event up is "The Resolution Revolution" on 26th September which is already close to selling out with almost 100 people booked to attend. This event is one of our most important ever. It's about trying to persuade both parties at work to think about mediation first in conflict scenarios rather than grievance procedures. It's an important message and if we get it right we can do huge amounts to improve work place relations in Northern Ireland (and who knows other jurisdictions after that).

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Of Predicting the Future

There's a piece of software for just about anything you do nowadays. That's how it seems to me right now anyway. I know this because Legal-Island is having a software makeover at the moment. We've introduced bookings software, event creation software and presently we're test driving performance management software.We've tried and discarded stress management software and we will be investigating 360 appraisal software next.
About 10 years ago I remember reading an article by a Futurist expert who was predicting that all this new software along with other technical developments would make us so efficient that most workers would be home by lunchtime every day having run out of things to do. Emmm here's hoping but not expecting I suppose.