I was never much of a Royalist when I was younger. In fact, I was a bit of a Republican.

As I’ve got older I’ve come to appreciate the stability that having a Royal family gives us as a country. Oh, and all those millions of pounds of revenue from American tourists every Summer. Well not every Summer but you get what I mean.

Our Monarchy is an institution that goes back hundreds of years. It has its funny ways and traditions but generally speaking, they work even if they need a bit of updating every now and again.

It was that institution that Prince Philip who died last Friday joined in 1947.

I always liked Prince Philip’s no-nonsense get it done style, his incredible sense of duty and yes even his sense of humour even if it occasionally backfired. I did particularly laugh at the clip where in a moment of exasperation he said to a photographer “just taking the f***ing picture”.

But when I watched a documentary about him and the childhood he had, my admiration went off the chart. You may know some of this stuff.

He was basically descended from a Danish royal family and when the Greeks decided they wanted to have their own monarchy they chose his grandfather. Then they changed their mind!

He got shunted off to school in England at the age of 10, his father went to Monte Carlo to be a middle-aged playboy, his mother had schizophrenia and was in an asylum, one of his sisters died in a plane crash and the others all ended up in Germany and married Nazis! Basically, with no home from the age of 10, he joined the Navy at 18, became an officer and fought in the Second World War.

At 26 he married a princess who five years later became a Queen and then all those leadership skills developed in his younger years had to find a different outlet.

Every organisation whether it’s the Royal family, Augusta National golf club (where the Masters took place last weekend) or an accountancy practice that’s been going 26 years has a culture, practices, habits and yes even systems.

26 years on from those days in the Longfield “rabbit hutch”, A4G is nothing like how I would I have designed it if I’d looked forward. That’s partly because there was so much that I didn’t know back then but more significantly because of all the different people with good ideas who have joined us or helped us.

My job is to sometimes give all those new ideas room to breathe and other times point out that the amazing solution to the problem will actually cause us a bigger problem than we had in the first place. I know how annoying it can be when that happens!

But if my colleagues find that annoying, imagine how frustrating it must be to join the Royal Family!

But whatever your circumstances, there’s a choice really. You can either choose to accept the things you cannot change, influence the things you can but most importantly identify all the things you can change and then get on with it. For 74 years. With no complaint.

Or you can naff off to California and whine to Oprah Winfrey for two hours.

I know whose team I’d rather be on.

But what does any of these ramblings about current affairs have to do with my series of Friday night emails?

Well coincidentally, the latest step that we are covering our series about the BackleyBlack Mindsetting  programme was about the importance of “Being Assertive” which I discussed with Steve and Roger in this week’s video.

Whatever work you do this week, you will have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership.

It might be by having a chat with one of your team and giving them some really good advice.

It might be by explaining exactly what you expect of someone. This might be couched in the positive-negative-positive technique known as the “sh*t sandwich” or it might be a line in the sand moment when all the encouraging, cajoling, motivating has failed. Remember we become what we tolerate.

It might be by drawing up a detailed plan for a particular project or set of changes that are required so that everyone knows what they are doing and when it needs to be done by.

It might be by properly thinking about the work you have to do or the problem you have to solve, thinking through the pros and cons of all the possible solutions, asking the opinion of those who can help and making some significant changes.

It might be by choosing to notice something that needs fixing rather than walk on by.

Or alternatively you can wait until an assertive person with leadership qualities tells you to “take the f***ing picture”.

Your call.

Have a good weekend.

Interview with Steve Backley and Roger Black

Deeper thinking ~ Be Assertive

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Malcolm Palmer


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