Thoughts on Leadership is the brain child of Paul Bridle. This is the place that Paul shares his monthly thoughts.

Know or Willing to Learn

Posted: March 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Culture, Leadership, Management, Social | No Comments »

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You’ve caught me looking at a book, trying to find a bird, we have a beautiful bird flying around the building and I was wondering what type of bird it is.  This brings me to this month’s Thoughts on Leadership, because there is a lot of difference between wanting to know something and being willing to learn.  Many people have a desire for knowledge, desire for knowing something but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are willing to learn.

Take me for instance, I do enjoy birds and when I see a bird that is interesting, I like to know what type of bird it is.  I have no desire to be an expert on birds.  I have no desire to go bird watching.  I am just really interested in the different types of birds.

This is useful in terms of business these days.  Why do we want to know something?  Is it something that we need an in depth knowledge of, or is it something that we just need to have some general information about?  Would this be useful to us?

Most important from a leader’s point of view is understanding your people.  There are people out there who just want to know.  They are thirsty for knowledge about things, but there are ones that want it for the wrong reasons.  In other words, they are desperate to know anything and everything and they have got to know what is going on and what is happening and all these sort of things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a genuine desire to learn.

The desire to learn is what is really key, particularly in certain areas of your business.  For example, you may have a situation where you want somebody to know something specific about the product, the wiling to learn bit is ‘how’ they are able to explain that product to the client.  So, if there if you have somebody who is quite happy to know about the product, but are not willing to learn ‘how’ to sell it to the client, then they are maybe the wrong person for that job.

As a result, the key is really getting to understand that there is a difference between ‘wanting to know something’ and ‘willing to learn’ and both are needed and at times we are going to need to do one or the other.  Have we got the right person for the right situation?

We have just started a business, which is in the sales training arena and it’s about “yes, we can give you the knowledge to things” but taking it that step further and getting you to be able to apply it, that requires you to have a willingness to learn and many people have a desire to know but not necessarily a willingness to learn.

This month I am asking you some simple questions here:

I want you to think about your own people and once you do, look at some of the people you’ve got working for you and ask yourself, “Is this somebody who has a desire to know something or is it somebody who is really willing to learn?”  The depth comes in the willing to learn.  The knowledge is just a veneer, very useful, very important and in some cases – all that’s needed.  However, in other cases, it is the depth that’s needed.  In my case, knowing about the different types of birds, that is great, but the depth would come in actually understanding them, their habits, etc. so that I could have an in depth knowledge of them and I could recognise them when I saw them and realise when they are out of place or where they might be nesting or whatever is required.

Think about it in your business.  What do you want people to know and what do you want them to be able to apply with that knowledge?  When you have those two differentiators then start to ask yourself the question with regards to some of your individuals; ‘Is this somebody who just wants to know or is this somebody who is willing to learn?’  If they only need to know and they are willing to know, well then that is great, you can deal with that.  But if they are somebody who you needed to be able to apply and go a stage further, then they have to have a willingness to learn.  The learning takes them from the knowledge into application.  It is that different.

I hope that has given you something to think about this month, I will go into more detail on the website, if you want to know more but there is something for you to go and think about this month.

I hope you are having a good month and a good year!

See you next month,

Bye for now!

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Xmas 2011

Posted: December 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Social | No Comments »

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Well, it’s Christmas shopping time again and I bet you’re as busy as everybody else trying to plan out for Christmas.

It’s Thoughts on Leadership time for the end of the year so I was thinking let’s have a review of the year and let’s also look forward to 2012.

So, end of 2011 and somebody described it to me, “it’s been a year of having to work a lot harder and run a lot faster just to stand still.”  And I suppose for many of us it may feel quite like that.  It’s been a year where it seems you put more effort into things and not really moved a lot further forward than we were a year or two ago.  But 2012 is around the corner and it’s new opportunity.  We don’t know what’s going to happen economically.  We don’t know what’s going to happen to the world at large.  But we do know that we are in control of what we are in control of.  Stop focusing on things that you’re not in control of.  Stop focusing on the things that you have got no input to and focus on what you can.

My word of advice for 2012 is going to be:  what — where do you really add value?  And I know we’ve talked about this in the past before but the value that we offer is going to be so important to our customers and to what we are doing out there in the market place.  If we really, really don’t know how to have value then we really, really are not in the position to add, to charge anything for it.

So 2012 is going to be about what do we do and how do we add value in a way that we’ve never had it before.  It’s a time to really reinvent ourselves.  What are we really good at?  Get back to defining what are we really good at, what is our expertise and work with other people in areas where it’s not our expertise, finding ways of doing things with partnerships in alliances with other organisations or other people and cut away some of the stuff that we’re not really very good at all.

2012 is going to be opportunity to differentiate yourself in some way.  It’s got to be that opportunity to really review the market altogether.  Don’t think about the customers and what they’re needing, think about what the customers need that they don’t even know they need.  There’s no point in trying to ask your customers what it is that they really want.  Customers are looking for solutions and they’re looking for new ideas, principally new ideas, better ways of doing things.

So this year ahead is going to be a chance really to reinvent yourself as a business and as a leader.  The start of leadership you’ve had – is it working for you?  Has it been effective?  Is it going to be the leadership style you need in the year ahead?  These are the questions that you really need to be asking yourself in this moment.  What type of leader am I going to be in 2012 and what do I need to do to be able to get there?  Don’t be frightened to talk to your people.  What are they looking for from you in 2012?  Those are sorts of things that you need to be asking yourself at this stage.

So in essence, don’t be frightened of 2012.  Is it going to be easy?  No, it’s not.  Is it going to be hard?  It depends on how you use the word “hard”.  It’s going to be a challenge, yes, but it can also be exciting to have that challenge.  It can also be exciting to see the opportunities and do something a little bit different.  Throw things up in the air.  Ask yourself, “If I was going to do something different, what could I do?”  What further activities could we involve in and do really, really well?  We’ve diversified in 2011 and it’s been hard work.  But the more you put your mind to it, the more effort you put into it, slowly the rewards start to come.

So don’t just think about 2012 as an end game.  Think about 2012 as the start of a new way of doing business, the start of a new approach to things that you’re going to do.  Diversify, work in partnership with alliances with other people, streamline some of what we are doing, add real value, add value that we don’t even know where – what it is yet but we’ve got to find – those are the type of things that you’ll want to look at launching in 2012 that will pay you benefits in 2015.  And that’s the mindset you’ve got to be able to have.

I hope you have a wonderful festive season.  I hope that the whole festive season and the New Year is just an opportunity for you to unwind and have some fun and spend some time with your family.  I certainly am going to do that.  And let’s get refreshed and ready for 2012.

2012 we bring out new ideas and new products and new things to help and make life more interesting, things that no one else that we know of is doing in the market place and we’re trying to reinvent ourselves.  So I challenge you, reinvent yourself in 2012 and I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Have a great time and all the best for now.  Bye!

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Learning and Teaching

Posted: September 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Culture, Leadership, Management, Social | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

My apologises for the previous update to Thoughts on Leadership.  For some reason we posted up last months information.  Also remember our new site Bridle Infocus

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Get TOL in three ways; reading, watching or listening. The video and the audio versions are available as a free download either directly or via our podcast. You will find the RSS feeds at either: for the video version or for the audio version.


The Winds Of Change (Storms Of Your Life)Main Feature

Hi and welcome to another thoughts on leadership.  This month we are going to talk about learning and teaching.

You see, when it comes to leadership, there’s a great expression: “No one can teach you leadership but you can learn it.”  People can teach you principles, yes, but in terms of being a leader and developing yourself as a leader, you could only learn that.

It’s a little bit like riding a bike.  I can teach you the principles of it, I can show you how to learn to ride a bike but at the end of the day, your style of riding and the way that you ride the bike is something that you would develop for yourself.   And so it is with being a leader.  We could teach, we could read books, you can find out about being a leader.  It can give you some excellent principles but what’s down to you is learning actually how you are going to apply these principles and developing your style.  Because with different people, different groups, if you’re leading this group – the way that you lead them will need to be different to the way that you lead that one.  No one can say this is what you need to do and applies across the board.

So this month, what I am asking you to consider is this, do you even know what your style is?  Do you spend that time to consider about how you can constantly learn and develop yourself?  Because if you wanting control of that learning, if you want taking the ownership for the learning element on it and instead relying on someone else to teach you, then you’re never really going to be an effective leader.  Great leaders are always learning because learning is an ongoing process, no matter how long we go alive, things will change and we will have to re-learn sometimes what we think we already know.

So the questions this month are;
Are you learning or are you relying on someone else to teach you?

So, I hope that’s giving you something to think about this month.  Really, what is it you are doing?  Are you waiting to be taught or are you learning – are you taking control while learning and moving with your learning?

Okay, have a great month then.  We’ll see you again next month!  Bye for now!


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