Sunday, 20 September 2015

The one where I saved a sheep ...

So Sunday was a weird day.

I was at home, working hard on my Uni essay, and then suddenly and mysteriously I found myself in my kayak floating on the water off Lauderdale Beach ...

I have no idea how that happened at all ... but seeing as how I was there I figured I may as well go for a paddle.

And so that's what I did.

I headed off towards Seven Mile Beach, well at least that's where I started going, but I didn't get there because as I was coming around the cliffs ... I found a sheep.

Can you see the sheep down there in the shadows.

The poor thing had somehow fallen down the cliff and got itself stuck in a narrow little crease in the rock where you would only see it ... well, if you were paddling along 5 metres off-shore on a calm day.

My first thought was "that's weird" and then I started to paddle on ...

My second thought was "Actually, maybe I should do something ... like try and find the owner or call the RSPCA".

Then my third, and bestest thought in the world was "I CAN SAVE MRS SHEEPY!!!".

And that's what I set off to do ...

I was very responsible about it, I let Kim know what I was about to do (she didn't think my rescue plan was quite as brilliant as I did) and then I climbed down the cliffs, told Mrs Sheep (who was very emaciated and had obviously been there for some time) that I was there to help (I had to explain this a few times as sheep aren't that sharp) and then once she understood my intentions, I managed to basically pick her up and lift her up onto a shelf from where (with a little bit of help) she was able to scramble to the top.

One sheep saved, and that made for a good day.

And that's why I didn't do my homework ...  true story.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Leadership Philosophy

One of the things we were encouraged to do during the leadership course was to try and articulate our "Leadership Philosophy".  I really enjoyed listening to other peoples philosophies, though to be honest have not yet fully articulated my own.

On the last day of the course we were given a chance to put out some of our thinking to the group. These are my notes that I spoke from.

Leadership Philosophy

I don't aspire to being a leader.

I do, however, aspire to having exciting, challenging, fun, unique experiences.

... and so I need to be in a leadership position at work, because that's where the fun is in what I do for five days a week, 8 hours a day.

I don't work to live and I don't live to work ... I live to spend my time doing fun things. 

Work for me should just be another one of those fun things.

A general observation I'll make on my life is that I've got to where I am by being smarter and better at solving problems than the others around me. I am a specialist at solving problems.

Going forward, my career won't be driven forward by being smarter or better than others ... most of my bosses are smarter and quicker than me.

Therefore the techniques I've used to distinguish myself have become a liability, not an asset ... I need to change.

I need to do new things.

So what do I believe?

I believe in having fun, in challenging ourselves
I believe that life should be about seeing the invisible and doing the impossible
I believe in leaving a legacy
I believe that when we look back over our lives it should be rich with stories.

I believe that there's always time for a good cup of coffee and we should always make time for what we love to do.

One day I might actually try and articulate that into a Philosophy, but for now I at least wanted to capture those thoughts.

Friday, 4 September 2015

State Service Strategic Management Program

So one of the reasons that I've got so far behind on this blog was that I had an opportunity present itself to me which has kind of consumed me ...

The opportunity was pretty much put to me as "How would you like to attend a three week residential leadership course starting in August?" followed by "... and could you let me know by 5pm tonight?".

So I thought about it for about as long as it took me to check that I had no other conflicting events in that three week period and that Kim was comfortable that she could manage all the kid ferrying that was required over that time, then I said "sign me up".

In some ways, I probably should have spent some more time reading the fine print and asking some questions on what would be involved.

If I'd done this, I would have found out that what I'd actually signed up for was the Trial State Service Strategic Management Course which was essentially the first part of the Tasmanian Police Inspector Training program, expanded to have more relevance to the wider State Public Service.

If I'd really read the fine print I would have found out that the 'three week course' was actually just one part, of one study unit, of a Professional Honors Degree in Strategic Management (or some title like that).

I would also have known that it was a residential course (thankfully that bit was optional, albeit useful on some of the longer nights).

I would also have found out that I had to submit a 1500 word post-graduate level essay prior to the course starting, my life for the three weeks I was there would be a non-stop hectic round of seminars, training, assignments and presentations, and then afterwards, as well as catching up on my backlog of life and work, I would also have to submit another 2000 word essay and prepare a major presentation (due in November) with my syndicate to present to heads of agency.

And that's just the first of four units I have to do over the next year.

I hope that may also explain why you haven't seen me blogging much lately.

Anyway, ignoring those few issues in the fine print (it was after all a 'trial' course) I have to say that the three weeks themselves were life-changing for me.

I could never do those three weeks justice in this blog, but suffice to say that spending three solid weeks examining and re-examining leadership and management, our own personal life philosophies and being inundated with new ideas and ways of looking at the world ... well it's a bit like digging up the old garden, and throwing in lots and lots of new seeds and then wandering around (even months later) seeing all these new plants pop up from the ground and growing.

It was wonderful and transformative.

We got to listen to heads of agencies, senior bureaucrats, university academics, police officers and of course a good share of consultants.  We talked, we questioned, we argued and we were challenged (and OK, occasionally we dozed off).  We mixed with an amazing group of police and civilians, we drank coloured cordial, instant coffee (for three whole weeks!) and ate good old hearty fare cooked up by the police academy kitchen staff.

Coloured Cordial
Instant Coffee

We also got to attend one of the police officers' formal functions, which is definitely something I've never experienced the like of before, and there were just so many amazing one of experiences I won;t even try and recount them here.

Attending an intensive residential leadership course was one of my bucket list items to do it life.

So far, it's been one of the best things I've ticked off, and given all of the things I've ticked off in my life ... I think that's a pretty big call.