STOP PRESS: HOW TO SELF PUBLISH WORKSHOP CARDIFF. DEC 1st. £59.

A few weeks ago, someone asked me to help them out at very short notice. A leadership expert* who was supposed to be delivering a masterclass had failed to turn up – by chance, I was in the location it was to be held – so the supplier asked me if I’d stand in. They offered me money. I said yes.

Slatternliness sometimes has its rewards and in my bag I found a memory stick with a couple of presentations on it. There was just one other minor problem – my clothing. Having a day off I was wearing my dog walking clothes, including my favourite shirt, bought in 1982. Here is the offending garment:

I turned up at the venue, and the organizing lady mentioned she’d previously seen one of the presentations I had with me. ‘Would it be ok to air it again, here, instead of the leadership masterclass?’ I asked. She said yes. It was about passion, rather than leadership.

(For what it’s worth here’s my take on leadership:

-effective behaviour is very often sector specific
-the great majority of people need to be great managers rather than leaders
-leaders need drive (courage and energy) above all else. This is innate and they may have been lucky enough to be in environments where it was identified, developed and appreciated
-much talk and teaching on leadership is corporate showbiz. But hey, we all need a laugh)

Anyway, back to the masterclass.

I decided to be absolutely open and honest about the circumstances. My baggy trousers left me no choice. A couple of people looked disgruntled and disengaged: a lot more asked questions and came to talk to me individually. I talked a bit about the pre-Olympics work I did, which seems to mildly interest lots of people.

Afterwards the organizing lady contacted the supplier and was not happy. She said people hadn’t liked it, but she was unable to be more specific than that. She cited this negative response as a reason for cancelling further work with the supplier.

Which has left me in something of a quandry…I’ve asked her directly for more detailed feedback but had no reply. Possibly I was awful or at least quite unsuitable – I did my best in the circumstances.

Friends have said they’d never have turned up themselves dressed as I did. But you know what? If it happened again tomorrow, I’d still say ‘yes’.

What do you reckon..am I bonkers or what? And if you were there: please, what was your take on it?

* I suspect first rule of being a ‘leadership expert’ may be turning up. Funnily enough, he’s not been in touch.

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Join the conversation! 12 Comments

  1. All I can say is if they didn’t want to absorb or engage with your insights and incredible experience in leading and inspiring with passion then they don’t deserve you! Pah. And your shirt looks quite nice from what I can see. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Aw thank you Helen, that is a lovely comment indeed…

    Specific feedback you can do something about, can’t you? – apologize, learn or blame it on them (!) …

    And taking view here the shirt stays – and onwards and upwards….

    Reply
  3. Sounds like you’ve had the short end of the stick there Pippa. You stepped in, as a favour, and then get judged by your clothes?! Who gives a bloody toss! Concentrate on the message instead.

    And not giving feedback is very poor.

    My 2p.

    Reply
  4. You got that organiser out of a hole, she should have appreciated that, and been grateful to you, even if what you delivered wasn’t exactly what was expected! I am sure that you would have been much more interesting and fun than the “leadership expert”!!

    And if the main problem was your shirt….well, they certainly didn’t deserve you if they were that shallow!!!

    Reply
    • Thank you Esther that is very kind – it was odd she didn’t say thank-you… and where would we be indeed without spontaneity? A very dull place indeed… All best for your new role

      Reply
  5. Why the heck did she even both saying they hadn’t liked it if she wasn’t willing to provide some meaningful feedback! Perhaps she was just looking for an excuse to drop the vendor and she used you as that excuse. So whatever you’d done or however you’d dressed it wouldn’t have been good enough…. I’m sure you were excellent.

    Reply
    • Thanks Jacqui…and it’s been offset by great feedback from other jobs. The web has really changed how we want and receive feedback now, hasn’t it? And for the better on the whole -there are far fewer hiding places! Great to hear from you and best wishes to you.

      Reply
  6. Been there on that one -its a catch 22 I just hope you haven’t taken it personally Its difficult not to though. May be the original presenter knew it was hard group and chickened out
    I now rgink twice about gap filling at short notice.

    Reply
  7. Great to hear from you, VM. Yes… it’s made me think about how sometimes we do stuff that we feel is heroic in the short term – but not so good afterwards… Next gap fill that comes along, will definitely think ‘ now is enough in place for this to be good?’

    Thanks for the comment.

    Reply
  8. two quick thought, now with the benefit of some distance I hope you have decided you are entirely blameless?
    and secondly, I absolutely love you thoughts on leadership:
    -effective behaviour is very often sector specific
    -the great majority of people need to be great managers rather than leaders
    -leaders need drive (courage and energy) above all else. This is innate and they may have been lucky enough to be in environments where it was identified, developed and appreciated
    -much talk and teaching on leadership is corporate showbiz. But hey, we all need a laugh)

    Most sense I’ve ever heard you talk!

    Reply
  9. Ha, ha, ha! And what a compliment… Amazing how being in a tight corner is good for sense, isn’t it? Thank you ,chief, for popping by and the great comment.

    Reply

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