Make Team While the Sun Shines!

Discovery Centre Growth Inspiration

In the UK & want to play outside today?  Sunshine!  You can play outside this Summer and all whilst boosting your team relationships by an average of 84%!  Make team whilst the sun shines!  email

What could you and your team be achieving in our beautiful woods in this beautiful weather? 

Talk to us about our High Performing Team Days at our Discovery Centre.

Every business needs high performing, powerful teams to drive success – we offer one and two day experiences that unlock amazing team energy.

94% of Courageous Success clients say that our development is different to training that they have had before.


85% impact on improving work performance.

84% impact on improving motivation & engagement at work.

Over 84% impact of improving relationships with others.


”All rolled up in a beautiful outdoor setting with buckets of fun and perspective.”

Call us today to book or for more details;
01476 500794

Did Your Saturday Job Teach a Good Work Ethic?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

55% of business decision makers and 60% of corporate recruiters in the US, say they wish grads had developed more soft skills in college (soft skills refer to work philosophy, work style, attitude, and other traits).   Research by Bentley University quoted in Forbes.

What is it that makes fitting into the world of work so challenging?  Is work ethic declining or actually is it all about just being yourself?  Is it about having to work with the likes of you?!
We don’t know a single person with an iAM Values set who wouldn’t have a great work ethic if they were themselves, and then by being themselves: stopped trying to impress by dominating or holding themselves back and adjusting due to a lack of self-confidence.
Also from the Bentley University research, 62% of respondents say that millennials’ lack of preparedness for the workforce is “a real problem.” Among business decision makers and corporate recruiters, 64% say this is a problem for their own company, and 74% say this impairs the larger U.S. economy.’’
But is it all about “learning” a work ethic or do we actually hold the answers within? 
There has been much made recently about the snowflake generation or Millennials not adapting to work as previous generations – having a more ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude.   This research found a discrepancy between what graduates and business stakeholders feel is important;
”…23% of business decision makers and 18% of corporate recruiters identified work ethic as crucial. But only 7% of high school students and 9% of college students did so’’.
Last week the front page story of the UK Telegraph caught my eye. UK Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, shared the fact that teens being employed in part time work has declined, possibly by as much as 60%, resulting in a lack of understanding and preparedness for the world of work.  ”Young people do not have the “soft skills” required for work, she stated, explaining young people were turning up for jobs late or constantly checking their phones, leading employers to look elsewhere.’’

But is it all about being prepared – or about confidence, being engaged and following our own inner compass?

We find that the vast majority of people have an iAM value about achievement, making a difference and/or having a positive impact – we like to get things done – so what is it that gets in the way?
Are we born with a work ethic, or is it something that we can develop?  People often don’t think that they can do things – when they can.  We often don’t control our negative thoughts that stop us achieving or going for things, and it is these negative thoughts that keep us thinking all about ourselves.  We make up excuses for ourselves and act as if these excuses are normal. If we weren’t so self-absorbed, would we be nailing it more naturally?
In our experience work ethic is about attitude and being attuned to others rather than ourselves, serving others or creating a purpose to be useful and helpful.  Moving away from ‘what’s in it for me?’ to asking ‘how can I be most useful?’Here are our tips to make it about others and be more purposeful at work and in life;
  • Ask yourself: “am I winding people up and blaming them or am I taking accountability for the impact that I have?”
  • Practice giving people your full attention and remain focused in their conversation and not yours.
  • Remember that where you work is actually a group of human beings that service others in some way – all wanting to do their best – they are not there to service just you and your needs.
  • Choose not to coast but be purposeful every day, and ideally in every moment – Courageous Success – the verb!
  • As a leader or manager – connect regularly with your team and show your human side.  Admit mistakes and show vulnerability.
  • Choose to be positive, good, kind and caring every single day.
  • Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart. If you are not enjoying it – find a way to and take accountability for your mood.
  • Consider: what is my personal impact on others? What am I radiating to others?
  • Create a personal mantra for your way of being, and then express it to make others feel special, supported, connected, helped.
Harness your inner work ethic, and enjoy it! 

How Much of a Contradiction Are You?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

”It’s easier to love humanity than it is to love your neighbour.’’

This was an audience member contributing to a recent public debate, hosted by the BBC and the Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, about citizenship and global identity. And it really made me think.
The contributor went on to explain that loving humanity is easy as it’s so big and an unknown – a wonderful ideal, whereas it’s hard to love your neighbour as you know them.  You know the good and bad and some of those bad bits might really annoy you! 
This got me thinking about other ways that we fallible humans say and think the right thing, but often miss the opportunity to do the right thing – either because it’s too hard, we just miss the connection completely or think it’s someone else’s job.  Our actions not matching our thoughts and or words.
In the same week, HR Magazine reported on Matthew Taylor chief executive of the RSA, speaking at the Engage for Success Conference in London about the importance of engaging workforces about how ”the idea that all employees should experience good work, is having a moment right now”.
 “The most innovative organisations in the world are innovative because they have creative communities”.  For leaders, he said, this means creating a community where “people feel in it together” and “a culture where employees are encouraged to take risks rather than a leadership based on bureaucracy”.  
How many of us already know this, understand this, want to change but then for whatever reason get buried in the detail, the task, and normal habits and carry on as we always have? Is this taking the easiest route?  Staying within our comfort zone or in the ‘protection’ of our role or position?


Allowing ourselves to become stuck and creating a contradiction in our thoughts and actions at work.


From our research we know that, 70% of people use words and phrases like ‘doubting’, ‘worrier’, ‘overthinking’, ‘lacking confidence’, when describing themselves.  How often do we blame these feelings on our surroundings and what happens to us?  How many of us put conditions, (those pesky things outside of us again) to the thought of situations changing or taking any action ourselves;  we could do that but…, I could be nicer to my neighbour but….. , I’ll do that when……
How many of us are stuck in these ways of being, doing and thinking that don’t help us to get the best out of our situation and lives?    
Thinking and doing the same, means that you will always get the same – becoming unconsciously complacent and stagnating – stuck in the hamster wheel.  In the workplace it might mean staying with an old-fashioned style of command and control or master/servant leadership or living with bureaucracy, systems or processes that can stifle engagement and creativity.

We know that we can all look internally to shift our perspective on any situation we find ourselves in.  Concentrating on the good things about our neighbour rather than focusing on the small annoyances, leading changes at work that could create greater engagement.

81% of Courageous Success clients say ‘I now feel I have the power to change my workplace.’
We know it is possible.

Challenge the inconsistencies in your thoughts and actions, be conscious of them and then go further;  what steps can you take to put your best thoughts into actions and make a positive difference?

  • Genuinely see the good in others in all situations – think kindness.
  • Keep your power – others can’t make you feel cross or fed up – only you can with the response you choose, so choose to be optimistic and hopeful instead.
  • Don’t make everything about you, how you feel, the impact on you, and your reality of the situation, take a step back, pause and think: what’s really happening?
  • Swap negative language for positive – problem to challenge, loss to learning, and inconsistency to flexibility.
Commit to make at least one positive change now, in what you say or do at work. to create a better culture.


Are You Naked or Covering Yourself Up at Work?

Business Inspiration Liz Villani - Founder

A Deloitte study, reported by Fast Company, has found that people frequently feel a need to “cover” aspects of themselves at work. 

White men felt this way at a rate of 45%.  But, 66% of women felt they needed to hide parts of themselves at work. And, LGBT workers felt this way at a rate of 83%!

What would your % be?


We know that putting the real you “out there” at work gets amazing results.  Our research demonstrates an 85% impact on improving relationships at work, as well as an 88% impact on your positivity and happiness.
When you put the real you at the centre of your success, everything changes.  So, what’s making you hide parts of yourself at work? And I’m not talking about those wobbly body parts!  I will never forget starting my first job at 13 (yes 13!), as a chamber maid in a small hotel.  As I look back, I know that I did the job, and I was myself.  I then moved to be a waitress at Pizza Hut (the very first table I served, I managed to spill 4 pints of soft drinks – oops!), but again I was myself.  It was when I was 15, and working as a trainee chef in a restaurant kitchen, that I found being myself, becoming more of a challenge.  The chef would scream at the waiting staff, laugh with me and then throw knives at the commis – honestly!  I then felt pressure to act a certain way, so that the knives wouldn’t come at me!  A new restaurant manager would arrive and be strict and dictatorial and in response, I’d see the team start to whisper in the back kitchen, whilst showing a different face to the new manager.  The less confident or “different” staff would start to retreat and some even left.

So, it’s fear, confidence, conformity, banter and survival that creates this gap in us – or at least that’s a start!  Not a small list.  But one that is easily evaporated when you remember that you are the one creating it.  It’s you that’s choosing to hide aspects of yourself, even if you’re unconscious of it.  Men, women, most of us at some level, will put another layer on.

So how to de-robe? 

The main challenge that we find, especially with women, is confidence.  Most women we work with, when starting their development with us, rate their confidence lower than their male counterparts.  Women have a tendency to be more self-critical than men, who have been conditioned to “man up and get on with it”. 

Women tend to rely on what others think of them, to feel good.  They’ll look for approval, be a people pleaser and self-sacrifice to put others first or to look more competent.
When we bring more of ourselves to work we take control of our motivation & engagement.  Our clients rate the impact of this as 84% when they apply their Courageous Success learnings.  So, let me share some of our tools as new for you to try or as a reminder to carry on implementing;

  • Be conscious of your strategies.  Most of us are different people at work and at home.  Notice who you are in different environments.  Are you changing or covering up?
  • We tend to fear saying or being the ‘wrong thing’.  How much do you trust yourself out of 10?  Give yourself a score, with 10 being high.  Now think about how frequently you are being the wrong person or you say the wrong thing.  In our experience the imbalance is huge.  Start trusting yourself now.
  • Stop looking for external recognition to create your confidence.  The world is rampant with the need for feedback and recognition at work.  Shift your perception by recognising yourself.
  • Build a stronger relationship with yourself.  Take a moment to enjoy the feeling of being you.  I did this yesterday walking to the Tube.  It felt like tingles of happiness.  Why would people not want to know you, all of you?
  • Stop waiting for others to make you happy.  Make yourself and others happy instead, in equal balance.  If you say yes to everything, what are you going to start saying no to, to make yourself happier and more effective and efficient?
  • Believe in yourself.  Write a list of three or four things that make you great at your job, frame them as iAM.  E.g. iAM great at talking to people, they love sharing their ideas with me.
  • Finally encourage your business to put the following at the centre of their HR & People and Culture Strategies;
    ”Be yourself here, bring your whole self to work, it’s OK to be who you are at company x y or z.”Decide to stop covering yourself up at work.

Are You a Pleasure to do Business With …. Or not?!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

”People working in an uncivil environment miss information that is right in front of them…
Performance drops by up to 30%.” Christine Porath

”In the absence of high-touch, personal connections many managers are reporting breakdowns in courtesy and respect, many of which are amplified by the stresses of the workplace.’’ HBR

How important in business is civility and courtesy – the non-written ethics of business?  Are you even aware of its importance in your success?
Once again, I am inspired by my travels.  This week I have met some very rude, abrupt, cold, aggressive people…and some very kind, thoughtful people who have been a pleasure to work with.  I’ve disarmed the former and it has benefited my business.  How?  By talking to the real person within and by being myself.
General views in the business media express that courtesy and etiquette need to be more explicit within work, highlighting that the rise of technology and social media, and less face to face interactions can blur the lines between formal and informal, e.g. abbreviated messages, text speak etc.  people also being less than polite as they can ‘hide’ behind technology.
Some so called “experts” preach about having very formal ‘rules’.  Like a blast from the past in an ancient world of business rules such as;
“If everyone doesn’t know one another in the meeting room, you need to make introductions. You should do this by starting with the person of the highest rank first.  For example, “Ms. Greater Importance, I would like you to meet Mr. Lesser Importance.”

Business etiquette is something that we just don’t teach people.  And it’s not just millennials, generations of people have relied on role model behaviour – often not the best examples (!), to create their face at work.  I see the insecurity and fear in the faces of those who have no idea and feel out of their depth and at a loss of how to “win” their conversation.

People again and again, comment on our business etiquette at Courageous Success.  But it’s not rocket science, it’s easy!  Just be yourself, use your natural self, the same person at work as at home and only interact with people as you’d love to be interacted with.  Show people you like them.  Make them feel special, even if you have to negotiate with them.  If you are a manager, what are you doing to train business etiquette?  I remember my first week as a grad trainee being taught not to SHOUT ON MY EMAILS SO THAT I DON’T COME ACROSS AS AGREESSIVE!  As a grad I had no idea – but they were right and they taught me well.
David Cliff, from small shares; ”We are talking…about a natural set of personal values that one chooses to deliberately and thoughtfully incorporate in one’s dealings with other people. It defines one. It is not part of a sales toolkit or performance repertoire reduced to simple ritualistic conventions. It is an approach that comes from genuine human interest and understanding and recognising that people are not always capable of reciprocity.
In this respect, courtesy is not something that oils the wheels of a business process, although inevitably it does, it is a fundamental presentation of self within one’s business that offers a hallmark of interpersonal genuineness and respect, whether one is dealing with customers, suppliers, complainants or just the genuine public. In this latter respect, it reflects the best of business ethics and how your business is seen in the community.’’
An article nails it too; ”Boil it down and etiquette is really all about making people feel good. It’s not about rules or telling people what to do, or not to do, it’s about ensuring some basic social comforts.’’

So, how rude are you?
Are you being yourself? Are you just trying to win? Would you like to work with you?
Food for thought. 

Our advice? Just be yourself.

Are You Victimising Yourself at Work?

From Courageous Success Inspiration

React like a victim or sleep on it?  Sleep on it.  Especially at work!!!!

A Stanford University study reported in the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology has found that playing the victim leads to a sense of entitlement and to narcissistic or selfish behaviour.  Do you have even a tiny victim reaction?
In the last few weeks on my travels I have witnessed “victimism” (I love making up words!) abound.  Again and again, I have heard people blaming others for their own, often false perceptions and not looking first to themselves to check their filter. There is often no pause before the reaction.  Our capacity to be negative directly supports the creation of our own negative expectations – we see what we believe and feel, often instead of the reality.
American psychotherapist and writer Jake Eagle shares in his book, Reology (another made up word 😊), “The degree to which we don’t take responsibility is the degree to which we may victimize ourselves. When we experience ourselves as victims we make excuses and blame other people. Whenever we blame other people, we aren’t taking responsibility for our own experiences or our own feelings. Other people become a distraction so that we don’t have to examine our contribution to creating the mess we’re in.”


Whilst we are blaming others for our perceptions we are often creating distance & unnecessary frustration for those around us.  How easy are you to work with at times?



Claudia Pierre writing for (Jake Eagle’s website), shares that “Healthy relationships require self-knowledge. If we are not deeply knowledgeable of our feelings and needs—and owning them—then we will project our feelings onto others, generating conflict and pushing others away. We need to be alert to our inner emotions in order to maintain a healthy relationship”.

How often do you get frustrated with something and decide to leave it, often because you haven’t got time, or you’ve had enough, and you sleep on it?  When you come back to it you often change the approach to a softer, more thoughtful one.  Then, when writing that email or having that conversation you get a good result.  A result that you know you wouldn’t have got if you had just reacted.
What to do?  Here are some of our top tips on eradicating your own victim reactions;

  • Score yourself out of ten for how much you agree with the Courageous Counter question, “I care about people and I see the best in others”.  BUT in that moment of your frustration with them…
  • One of the lowest scores on our Courageous Counter comes from “I have a strong relationship with myself”, how connected are you to you?  Do you check in with your inner self or just react? Be conscious of how much you just see and react outwardly vs. inwardly.
  • Monitor your perceptions.  How judgmental are you throughout your day?  On asking, “Are you judgemental?” , people generally react “No!”  But actually, throughout your day notice how many expectations you have of people, how many tiny judgements you really do make?
  • Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.  When something happens that frustrates you keep it the size it really is in the bigger picture, rather than flooding your consciousness with it.
  • Take a break, even a few minutes before reacting.
  • Slow down.  When we are stretched with doing we can forget our impact and expect others to deliver all of our expectations.

What’s Your Friendliness Factor at Work?

From Courageous Success Inspiration

When we ask what makes you happy at work the vast majority of people say the people they work with.
Yet, how conscious are you of your friendliness factor?

Before I was transforming the way the world develops people, I used to spend hours, days, weeks and months “focused”.  Conscious that my face looks serious when I am focusing (not a resting bitch face thank you), when I moved into management and leadership roles, I had to consciously keep reminding myself to actively express my friendly side so I didn’t look unapproachable.  Confession over!
Relate research shares that, “we’re almost as likely to have daily contact with our colleagues (62%) as we have with our children (64%), and that having good connections is important for our well-being and health”.  Gallup research reports that people who have a “best friend at work” are not only more likely to be happier and healthier, they are also seven times as likely to be engaged in their job. But should we be best friends or colleagues and where is the balance?
I have yet to see a Leadership or Management Programme in the world that includes the importance of being friendly as a core module.

But if being friendly at work creates higher levels of productivity, retention, and job satisfaction then isn’t about time we started focusing on our friendly factor?



There are lots of reasons why our approachability and friendliness can become jaded at work, including stress, focus, frustration and lack of conscious awareness.  But one of the greatest blockers we see is the need to look and act “professional”.  This mask creates distance, formality and hierarchy.  It’s also not impressive.  Again and again, we see people remove the mask, be themselves, and promotion follows.
So what’s your friendliness factor?  Do you believe that lifting your “status” creates a persona of authority or are you so busy not delegating and doing it yourself that you are a one person silo?!

Be the same you at work as outside of work.

If you change the way that you are and communicate when at work, compared to when you are out of work, then you are reducing your realness.  In our experience, these behaviours reduce collaboration and connection between teams, and can make individuals feel out of the loop, isolated and lonely.
An HBR article this week highlighted the importance of friendliness at work and quotes research about the importance of what sociologists term ‘multiplex’ ties. These are connections made where there is an ‘overlap of roles or affiliations from a different social context’, in other words – connections that are not just about work.  The article goes on to suggest eight questions to ask to connect and build rapport with people on a basis other than just work, such as; ”what’s the best thing that happened to you this year?”  or ”what excites you right now?’’   This week Fast Company has talked about how to be an empathetic listener, and suggest questions to ask to improve empathy.
These articles are interesting, but are we over-complicating things?


Is the key to connecting and having useful and real communication at work, actually about just being yourself?





Here are our top tips for bringing the non-work you into work, and upping your friendly factor:

  • Remembering that our colleagues are funny and real people (even the ones you have discounted!), rather than just roles.
  • Humanise your workplace by talking openly and normally – just as you would at home.
  • Don’t conform, we often think of work as having to be professional and formal. None of us have ‘professional’ written on our hearts!  Be informal and normal.
  • When you need to achieve something, think about how you might ask a friend – and take that approach.
  • Ask for help at least once a day.  This may be an opinion, a prompt or an idea, but it’s a beginning.
  • Give your help to others.  We are all busy, make time to spend 10 minutes helping another.
  • Book regular team time, and prioritise it.  You don’t have to climb a mountain or build a raft (a waste of time), but simply being together, working, planning and focusing on your relationships together will bring you closer as a team.
  • Step forward and lift your consciousness and level of interaction.

Do We All Need a School For Happiness?

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

A new school in India will concentrate on teaching ”happiness first”, with ”learning skills coming later”.
Reported by Fast Company this week.

”It’s our view that happiness – or emotional intelligence, or balance, or confidence, or self-esteem, or any other word for feeling good about ourselves and our place in the world – is the foundation on which great lives and great achievements are built,” says Riverbend School cofounder Vivek Reddy.  A massive and powerful statement, the philosophy of the new school turning traditional ways of teaching on its head.
The founders, a group of entrepreneurs, have been inspired by the longest running study of the health of adults, that has found, by following graduates from Harvard since 1938, that our ”relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.’’
This ties in with so many other pieces of research and evidence about the power of happiness. Here’s just a few of them:

  • Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.  You’re 37% better at sales. Doctors are 19% faster and more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed. Shawn Achor.
  • In a study of Japanese workers at a large IT company ”….a higher sense of purpose as well as a sense of interdependence with co-workers was correlated with lower inflammation as well as a higher viral resistance in the bodies of the workers.’’  HBR
  • Happy workers are 12% more productive than the average worker, and unhappy workers are 10% less productive. University of Warwick.

But I don’t need to tell you this – we all know this, we’re all searching for happiness, hence the massive market in ‘how to’ guides to happiness.

When we work with clients they tell us that our progammes have an 88 % impact on positivity and happiness.   Research tells us, and we know from working with our clients, that when your brain is in a positive state – your intelligence, creativity and energy levels rise and business outcomes improve.   Feeling happier impacts positively on so many aspects of work:  leadership, relationships,  feeling included and purpose.


Yes – we have the magic pill for happiness!! 




We all have a tendency to think that happiness is something that we have to find or be given.  Someone or something makes us happy, hence reaching for self-help books.  Richard Branson attributes his success partly due to ”being happy” – rather than ”pursuing happiness”.  Interesting that this is about ‘being’ not ‘pursuing’
At Courageous Success we know this, we can make ourselves happy; through our reactions to others and circumstances and by creating happiness for ourselves.
Our thoughts create our lives.  All of our feelings, beliefs and knowledge are based on our internal thoughts, both conscious and unconscious, and we are in control of these processes – we may not feel it, as we are often in a well-worn, and comfortable habit of blaming the world, or those around us, for what happens to us and how we feel about it – it’s easier to blame something else isn’t it?
However ,we can choose to be positive or negative, enthusiastic or dull, active or passive.   The difference between happy people or unhappy people is not what they experience, but how they interpret their experiences – good or bad.
We know from Neuroscience that the brain is elastic and that it is possible to change our thoughts. This proves we can all make conscious decisions to view the events in our lives optimistically, rather than negatively, and exercise more control.
Happiness is a choice.
What do we need or depend on to be happy? Is it that next pay rise, relationship, next holiday, better car or house, or when I am more successful?  Is it something created outside of ourselves or from the inside? The answer is probably both, however one of these is much more reliable and sustainable and more importantly – in our control!

Sorry, we don’t actually hand out magic pills,  but what we do is equally powerful – we help others create a positive mind-set.  How we have such an impact on happiness and positivity is because we put your power back in your hands;  influencing the relationship you have with yourself and the world around you, creating happiness from the inside and not relying or hoping about what happens outside.
72% of our clients tell us that our programme has changed their lives in some way.  Often they tell us that they wish they had been on the programme years ago, or that it would be brilliant now for their teenage or young adult children.  It would be fantastic if all of our children were given these tools and techniques at school as a foundation to living life.  But it’s never too late to start!

How will you take responsibility for your mood and experience so that you can deliver and live at your optimum? 

Ask yourself these questions;
Am I waiting for ‘the world’ or ‘something’ to make me happy?
What could I do now to take the initiative and increase my happiness?
What habits do I have that create unhappiness or low mood?   Comparing myself to others or similar?

Here are some hints and tips to nurture a positive mind-set:

  • Take the positivity challenge; for ten days  choose to see the positive in all situations and in all interactions with others. Avoid negative influences e.g. the media or negative people.
  • Be conscious of your inner dialogue: does it need to change to be more positive and optimistic?
  • Visualise what you would like to happen, where you would like to be in the future.
  • Watch your language: use positive language consistently, both internally and externally.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader? Am I  making enough effort to make a difference?
It is your choice:  make the most of everyday, whatever you are doing, and make a positive difference for you and those around you. 

Realness at Work and Does It Matter?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Realness and being human at work, is being highlighted everywhere we look!

Authenticity, the end of traditional work structures, the importance of individual and business values and employees feeling a strong connection, are all things being talked about as required by businesses today. To enable a successful response to the speed of change in the way we work, and the need to address worldwide low engagement, it’s increasingly being recognised that realness at work matters!

What does realness mean to you?  Are you self-aware? Are you the same person in work as out of work?  Does your work environment feel open and supportive or formal and unnatural?

Reported in HR Magazine this week under the headline ”Employees disillusioned with company purpose’’, a survey of 1,000 workers revealed;  ”almost half (42%) said their company does not act in line with its purpose and values’’, leading to disengagement, and 72% said they’d be more likely to stay at their company if they were more ”emotionally connected to their work”.
Nikki Heyworth, our Director of Development, has identified Empathetic Leadership as the key leadership trend for this year, and at the recent UK HRD Summit, many of the contributors talked about the importance of shared values, authenticity and inclusion at work. Here are some great examples:
Josh Bersin of Deloitte, talking about ‘Todays New World of Work’ identified ”Citizenship, Collective Thinking, Shared Values’’  as what is required for business cultures to be successful today.  Moving away from traditional hierarchy, rigid structures and leadership to ”…shared values and culture, transparent goals and projects, free flow of information and feedback, people rewarded for their skills and abilities, not position, leaders acting as coach, not boss, and leading through followership, not position.’’
The importance of leaders creating a sense of belonging for staff, with belonging being described as ‘being accepted for you’, and  ‘being me’ at work rather than ‘fitting in..being like everyone else’’,  was shared by the Head of HR for Caffe Nero.  When talking about their new People Deal, the UK HR lead at Cisco, revealed that their most successful teams were ones with identified and shared values.

The world of work is ready to be real!

The benefits of this authenticity, is significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress (reported in HBR).
Our research and work for over 10 years in the field of ‘bringing the best you’ to work shows exactly the same!
Courageous Success clients rate their ability to use their natural authenticity and strengths to maximise their performance as 88% – as a result of iAM (personal values profile) they truly understand themselves at heart, and report the positive impact on their leadership as 85%.
In practice this means being real: not following the crowd, not being self-conscious and bringing the real you into work.

Tips for Bringing the Real You into Work:

  • Be the same person at work as at home. You’ll feel and come across as more real and natural.
  • Don’t conform. We often think of work as having to be professional and formal. None of us have ‘professional’ written on our hearts!  Be informal and normal.
  • Are you playing to your role at work, as either manager, leader or team member? Is this restricting you and your team? If your job title was removed tomorrow – how would that change how you think about your work and your contribution?
  • Do you have any structures or processes in place that create formality and complexity that are no longer needed?
  • Are you being transparent with information and goals?  Be open and communicative.
  • Be encouraging and build self-belief in others – always see the best. Do you actively encourage contribution from all?
  • Create a supportive environment, where help can be given and mistakes made without it being seen as failure.
  • If you have an iAM – have you shared your values and do you know your team’s values?
  • If you don’t have an iAM (speak to us!);  share what’s important to you with your team and ask the same of them – create a shared team purpose.

Put realness at the centre to bring out the best in you and others at work.


Click to hear me talking about Putting Realness into Your Strategic Growth Formula for the 2018 UK HRD Summit.



Have You Got Your Emotional Support Peacock?!!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

‘Emotional support peacock’ turned away from United Airlines flight.  An eye catching headline this week!

A passenger was turned away from boarding a United Airlines flight with her “emotional support peacock” (called Dexter) over health and safety concerns this week.  It appears that ’emotional support animals’ have become a thing, United Airlines told the BBC that the number of support pet requests has risen by 75% in the past year.  Following this surge airlines have had to tighten the rules as the increase in animals poses a safety risk, and have now banned a number of animals including hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles and “non-household birds.” !!

There’s nothing wrong with loving our animals, but the idea of using an emotional crutch is interesting. Do we use them, and do we really need to?
We are all softies at heart, we know from our own research that 88% of us agree “I have times when I doubt myself”, our favourite (and more usual) external confidence strategy is recognition with 56% using it as a primary confidence builder, followed by control & planning (25%) and support from others (19%).

But over 90% of us don’t look within ourselves for the answers.

A study of 500 employees and 500 senior decision makers, previously reported in HR Magazine, found that 59% of workers would prefer a job at a company that provided them with regular recognition rather than one with a higher salary. Almost two-thirds (72%) of workers reported that motivation and morale would improve if managers thanked them more and noticed their good work.
Forbes has also reported that there is a $64 billion market for employee recognition.


Talk about relying on others to feel good!




Should we be replacing these recognition programmes with positive belief programmes? Helping employees find internal confidence strategies rather than relying on external strategies, crutches & peacocks.
Building confidence and self-belief from within means it’s in our control, it increases resilience, and is a strategy that can last.  We choose to manage ourselves that way.
Take control of your wellbeing!
The challenge is that for most of us, we have forgotten that the choice exists.  We don’t consciously manage our emotional reactions, we let our emotions impact negatively on others, and underneath it all, doubt ourselves.   We constantly give our power away, lack emotional strength and are not consciously aware of ourselves – and need to rely on our emotional peacock.
At Courageous Success we know that the best person that you can be is yourself, and if you choose to think more constructively and positively about situations, you will build inner strength, belief and resilience.
Our clients tell us that knowing who they really are – their true iAM Values – and using our mind tactics tools – impacts on their ability to manage their emotional response by 84%.Do you feel confident? Do you show and feel strength? Do you fully engage?
Keep your power by not letting what’s happening outside of you, wobble you.
Leave the past behind, don’t waste time and energy on what might have been, but look forward positively and take action.Imagine if we all brought this version of us to work every day?

Don’t rely on a peacock for your emotional support, positively support yourself:

  • Write down what makes you good at your job and keep them front of mind, using the positive energy to fuel your confidence.
  • At the end of each day, list three things that went really well because of you.
  • Don’t rely on knowledge and data totally to do your job, trust yourself too.
  • Recognise your strengths and play to them.
  • Be kind to yourself and others.
  • Believe in and see the best in others, and yourself.
Use your heart as your crutch, your kind actions, to support your self-esteem and know that the very best person you can be is yourself.