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Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene
58 minutes | 10 days ago
Steve Gaskell on being the best version of yourself | BCP021
My guest is Steve Gaskell a fellow coach, and author of ‘Business Shouldn’t be this Tough’ has a deep understanding of the difficulties leaders face today, he’s been helping leaders of businesses for some 18 years.Steve is a former Army Master Coach, British Army, he helps develop a “pig-headed approach to personal discipline, drive and ambition”.Steve and I have spoken previously and we connected on many levels, we speak the same language, so that always makes it feel like we’ve known each other a long time. “In conversations it is probably one of the most difficult things sometimes to define, what goes to make a really good conversation. I think in some instances if you out with your friends it is the one who can talk the most and you know, have people recognise and woo what it is your saying, agree with you, and yet there are other conversations where you don't get a word in edgeways, so for me I think the really best conversations that I as a coach are interestingly those that I don't do a lot of talking. I am in a position to listen more deeply.“”He’s doing some fascinating work with people who’ve been in a life of service and are transitioning into a new career and we’ll be talking about that a little later in the conversation.
64 minutes | 3 months ago
Ian Moyse on fastest ways to build customer rapport | BCP020
My guest today is Ian Moyse. Ian is the EMEA Sales Director for Natterbox. He has sat on the boards for several industry bodies; FAST (Federation Against Software Theft), CIF (Cloud Industry Forum) and Eurocloud and as non-exec advisor to numerous other organisations. He got awarded the accolade of BESMA UK Sales Director of the year and in 2019 he listed in the top 50 Sales Keynote speakers by Top Sales World. Ian is also a social influencer for a growing number of leading global technology brands.“Bad things happen. It doesn’t matter how good you are — as a business, as individuals. Mistakes happen. Things fall through the cracks in the best of companies, with the highest net promoter scores on the planet. It happens. It’s how you deal with it and my advice is deal with it in a human way, in a conversation up front, not electronically, where you’re hiding behind something because that does more damage than facing up to it. Do not be afraid of it.”Click here for full show notes and more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
53 minutes | 3 months ago
Amali de Alwis MBE on preparation, reflection and respect
My guest is Amali de Alwis. Amali is responsible for Microsoft’s strategic and commercial direction across Microsoft’s startup and scale-up activities in the UK. Prior to this she was CEO of Code First: Girls - a multi award-winning training company focused on increasing diversity in tech.“It’s never a fait-accomplis… you never get a badge saying you’ve reached your maximum level of good communication. Different things are needed at different times, you need to wear different hats for different conversations… just making sure you give yourself that time to self-reflect when things either do go well or they don’t go well, what are the kinds of things that could have happened differently.”She was a founding member at Tech Talent Charter, was named the ‘Most Influential Women in UK Technology’ and was awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to diversity and training in the technology industry. She is a board Member at the Raspberry PI Foundation, Ada, National College for Digital Skills; and D&I Board at the Institute of Coding.Click here for full show notes and more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
59 minutes | 4 months ago
Kathryn Chapman on the power of photography for good mental health | BCP018
My guest is Kathryn Chapman. Kathryn is a photographer, mental health advocate and creator of Face to Face, a powerful photographic process for women. It’s about giving them the opportunity to see themselves in a more self-loving way as a way of helping with mental health recovery. She designed the process from her own journey and recovery from depression and anxiety.“I think I get people who are a bit stuck, maybe a little bit lost, are looking for direction. Somebody to walk beside them for a while on their journey and mirror back to them what they can’t see, and that is actually what I love to do. I love to show people, women especially, I do photography men, but especially for women, showing them what they don’t see, because woman so often are so critical of themselves and don’t know how amazing they are and being able to show somebody - that is such a joyous process”Since picking up her first camera at the age of 8, Kathryn has been fascinated by the medium of the lens — the camera is another way that Kathryn connects with people, it’s an extension of her immense capability to listen, to hold safe spaces and her willingness to explore her intuition. I wonder whether, as a photographer, she sees moments, expressions, things unsaid that most of us miss.Click here for full show notes and more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
66 minutes | 4 months ago
Rob Bogosian on corporate silence and the fear of speaking up | BCP017
My guest is Dr Rob Bogosian the principal at RVB Associates, Breaking Corporate Silence: How High Influence Leaders Create Cultures of Voice and has been featured in numerous business publications including Business Insider, CNN Money, The Economist, Entrepreneur Magazine and more.He partners leaders and businesses to make sure that their leadership development strategies are fit for purpose. Rob’s perspective is that if you get that right then you minimise operational risk caused by performance gaps at all levels, the individual, the group or team level and enterprise-wide. “If you have a high need for self-affirmation, approval, you’re going to have a hard time as a leader. You have to have a secure attachment in order to be an effective leader. And I’m not sure that enough of our leadership population is securely attached… meaning if you are anxious, that shows up at work and if you’re “attachment secure”, that shows up at work.”He is particularly interested in corporate cultures of silence and cultures of voice and believes that leaders are not always aware of the influence and impact they have on their people’s behaviour and therefore what their people feel they can express and say — and I’m inclined to agree with him.You will hear Rob get very impassioned when he talks about the damage that corporate silence does to people at work. Why this interest in our fear of speaking up? It comes from a deep place in him — my sense is it comes from a profound appreciation for the suffering that his grandfather survived against the horrific injustice of genocide and an equally profound gratitude and respect for the opportunity and insight that that has given him. It’s like he sees and feels the echoes of terrible leadership and the suffering it inflicts on people in what he witnesses in his clients’ organisations today. He says we can do better in leadership, much better.In our conversation, we explored the many things that get in the way of a leader’s ability to inspire and lead effectively.We talked about so many things that get in the way of a leader’s ability to inspire and lead effectively including why it is that leaders forget the humans they work with? Why do many leaders show up as insecure? What stops leaders from getting the information they need to make good business decisions?Click here for full show notes and more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene
59 minutes | 4 months ago
Kate Rolfe on our responsibility to bring people with us in conversations | BCP016
My guest is Kate Rolfe. Kate is founder of The Revels Office which is a cultural events consultancy and she helps arts organisations generate new revenue and through that expose organisations to different cultural experiences and reach new audiences.She’s done some wonderful creative projects like transforming the National Gallery into a cinema as part of a sponsorship with beer brand Leffe, setting up the 'most popular event of all time’ with Time Out at the Natural History Museum and running a star-studded event at Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. “I think a lot of businesses are trying to move to a place where you don’t have to force people to be immediate and to make strong firm definite decisions straight away but actually there’s a level of creativity and time to think — I think a lot of that might have come from the creative industries… it’s bound to be a more peaceful way of working, it’s just more collaborative and calm but still effective. It’s not about wasting time — it’s about using time in the right way and using conversations in the right way.”This was a really delightful conversation about the mechanics of conversations where Kate shares her techniques for keeping a conversation moving forward and creating deeper connections. It’s very human, natural and speaks to her desire for meaningful connections.Click here for full show notes and more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
50 minutes | 5 months ago
Stephen Brittain on visualising and mapping the value exchange in conversations | BCP015
My guest is Steve Brittain. Steve is co-founder of Insurtech Gateway, the only FCA authorised independent incubator and fund, it’s where founders can go and get underwriting paper, investment capital, and advice on how to design and build their startup for the insurance industry......which has so many barriers to entry, and he says founders often run out of energy and money just trying to get in. One founder refers to them as “insurance sherpers, guiding us through the wilderness of insurance.”Along with his co-founders, Steve takes founders on a journey towards investors and he enlists the support and patience of “true collaborators” who he defines as geeks who have a shared fascination in each other, who recognise each other as peers and who all like to get their geek on.“They’re all incredibly curious, they all bring a super skill to the conversation and then there’s a mutual respect between Mr. Insurance Geek, or Mr. Data Analytics Geek or Mr. Forecasting Geek or Mr. IoT Sensor Geek or whatever skill is required. That there’s a recognition of peers, that’s been quite fundamental, they’re enjoying playing with others who are also excellent at what they do.”Steve sees himself as a peacekeeper in conversations, working to get both sides - founders and investors - to align on ideas. He’s very visual in conversations using mind maps crossed with Venn diagrams and props like mugs, phones and drinks coasters to help himself and others get clarity about the value exchange. Click here for full show notes and more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
59 minutes | 5 months ago
Julie Mashack on philosophical conversations with strangers | BCP014
My guest is Julie Mashack. Julie is the Director of Global Programs and Networks at 92nd Street Y - (as in the 24th letter of the alphabet) - it’s a 145 year old cultural and community center located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. The Y is short for Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association.“I admire [when you have] a confidence in your own opinion that you can listen to someone else and maybe your opinion won’t change but you’re confident enough to say, “Okay, I’m open” and that I don’t automatically feel so threatened by another opinion that I don’t need to shoot it down, that I can listen to it. I admire when I see that happen — I think it’s incredible.”Julie started out as a radio producer on NPR and Air America Radio and had a good stint in television news production before she joined 92nd Street Y over six years ago.She oversees the major outreach and civic engagement initiatives for 92Y Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact. I met her at an online event hosted by the Royal Society of Arts here in the UK when I heard her talk about a fascinating initiative that she launched and has grown to a network of 300+ civil conversation clubs in 33 states, probably more by the time you’re listening to this because, when I met her, she was looking for leaders in countries around the world to set-up international clubs — you can appreciate how this might have drawn me in - and you for that matter.The initiative is called The Ben Franklin Circles — a quick background… so Ben Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. As well as being an influential politician of his time, he was many other things including a scientist and an inventor. He was deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753 and he did own and deal in slaves but by the late 1750s, he began arguing against slavery and became an abolitionist.Ben was all for self-betterment and ran conversation clubs to discuss his own defined list of 13 virtues… temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility — all with the purpose of asking two questions: How can we improve ourselves? How can we improve our world?Taking that concept, Julie led an initiative to bring those conversation clubs back into practice and I wanted to learn more about them as well as her own conversation journey.Click here for full show notes and more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene
68 minutes | 6 months ago
Gabrielle Hase on being insatiably curious about others | BCP013
My guest is Gabrielle Hase. She is the CEO of Soleberry Advisory - love that name - based in London, and her depth of experience in all things ecommerce, mobile and direct marketing as well as strategic branding and how to increase a brand’s market share is what her clients hire her for. Gabrielle also serves on a number of well-known retail boards as a Non Executive Director (NED).“The conversations that I enjoy are… truly back and forth conversations. You enjoy talking with them, even if you don’t agree with them, you find the conversation engaging, enlightening, and it has a nice decadence to it and you don’t regret the time spent.”She has an insatiable curiosity about people and their motivations and choices, and she is often the one to ask the tough questions or the seemingly “stupid, silly” questions that actually… (ha) no-one knows the answer to — these are qualities you want in an advisor and a non-executive director, right? Otherwise why hire them?You can follow Gabrielle Hase on LinkedIn.Click here for full show notes and more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
73 minutes | 9 months ago
Margaret Heffernan on fresh, raw and unpackaged conversations | BCP012
One of the things I enjoy about my guest, and as she describes how she shows up in conversations, is how “fresh, raw and unpackaged” her thoughts and commentary are. My guest is Margaret Heffernan. Multi-time TED speaker, an award winning author, and former Chief Executive herself who now mentors other CEOs and senior executives of major global corporations, among other many other achievements. We can all agree that her latest book “Uncharted” is timely. I don’t know about you but I can hear Margaret’s distinctive voice in anything she’s written. She‘s the antidote to corporate jargon and theoretical leadership. She’s very much the mentor with whom leaders can feel both validated and safely challenged. In her words, perhaps she is giving them permission to pay attention to their own thoughts or hunches or observations rather than preaching must-do’s and should's. After all, isn’t that how we really grow? By listening? Whether that’s listening to others or listening to our own voice?In this conversation, Margaret talks about the value of asking questions, the power that leaders have and the dilemmas that presents them with, the value of listening and holding spaces for others to speak honestly and how she has learned to do that and the surprise impact it had on her own ability to influence people, our relationship with conflict and disagreement and complexity, and what makes people loyal to their leaders. A theme that permeates all her books is social capital and how important it is in life and work — she’s explored it extensively and something tells me it has been the golden threat of many of her conversations. In her latest book, Margaret comments, “going into a crisis with years of generosity, reciprocity and trust already deeply embedded provides reliance and stamina.”You can follow Margaret Heffernan on LinkedIn and Twitter, and her website is here.Click here for full show notes and more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
106 minutes | 9 months ago
Hazbi on intimacy, being queer and organising festivals | BCP011
One of the toughest times to have conversations is when we are facing our fears and, if we can get to the other side, I’m optimistic that there is much joy waiting for us.I’m in conversation with Hazbi, a Swiss-Albanian queer artist and curator of festivals. This is a very personal conversation because they are sharing their own journey of becoming non-binary and the important role that conversations have had for them since they were a teenager, not just about sexuality but about identity and belonging, about the queer festivals they organise, the challenge (or gift) of being mildly autistic, and about finding humanity and spiritual connections, ...and, it seems, to always be emerging themselves and to be promoting inclusion, diversity and rights for social minorities at the same time as challenging social conventions.When Hazbi talks about being body positive they talk about creativity with the body, diversity of looks, the spaces that create safety and allow others to immediately open up and talk about very intimate aspects of their sexuality. Being non-binary, they are very flexible in how they dress, they are flamboyant and rich in imagery, and sometimes it has taken them a great deal of courage and strong will to dress how they feel because often people do stare at them, or can be aggressive or violent towards them because they represent difference or because their difference is perceived as dangerous.They said something very poignant to me about how much self-alienation we put ourselves through in order to be accepted and they describe the morning rush in Zurich of bankers heading to their offices as an example. But also how people can surprise us, like when they told their boss that a professorship at the University of St Gallen wasn’t for them.To connect with Hazbi, check him out on LinkedIn, Instagram and SoundCloud.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
47 minutes | 9 months ago
Rob Stephenson on smashing the mental health stigma | BCP010
My guest today is Rob Stephenson, a mental health campaigner. He’s the creator of FormScore that helps you work out how well you’re feeling, and he’s about to pull off the first global 24 hour mental health virtual summit — by the time you listen to this episode he should be fully recovered!Rob has his own story of mental ill-health which he shared with me and what’s remarkable is that he only recently came clean about what he spent so many years hiding from people he worked with. Once he accepted his condition and found a way to talk about it, he felt a burden lift -- he says being open about it is by no means a cure but it certainly relieved the burden of keeping it a secret.He’s campaigning for change about attitudes and support for mental health — he wants to smash the stigma and he’s enlisting the help of senior leaders, some of whom he invites to be listed on LeaderBoard, an annual list of leaders who are open about their experience with mental ill-health.So, I was curious about how his conversations sound, what they look and feel like. He describes himself as a strong man who has learned to be open and authentic and to talk about his vulnerability in a way that is disarming and gives others permission to share their struggles too.One of my questions was what he would say to leaders who would like to demonstrate the same vulnerability that he has found but are apprehensive about how that might change other people’s perception of them and another question was how well equipped he believes our teenagers may be in expressing their emotions ...but I began first by asking Rob who he needs to influence on the mental health agenda.To connect with Rob Stephenson, check him out on LinkedIn, InsideOut for the LeaderBoard, and FormScore is here.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
38 minutes | 10 months ago
Shalini Gupta on striving for simplicity in conversations | BCP009
My guest is Shalini Gupta, a Canadian living and working in Chicago where I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know her when I lived in Chicago. She’s been working in advertising, agency side, for the last 18 plus years and when we spoke, she was managing an agency doing the marketing for the US army.She shares how one of her early bosses has influenced how she leads today, how she makes space for people to express their feelings, to speak simply and be present, and to focus on outcomes rather than ego or sounding smart.Patience under pressure may be an aspect she’s working on — who isn’t — but in the meantime there are things like empathy, acknowledgement, and honesty that are very important to Shalini. Her focus is on making sure her people understand what’s being discussed and know what to do with that information.She thinks before she speaks, so her words are intentional and succinct. You understand her very quickly. And there are at least a couple of wonderful tips to learn from Shalini’s approach to team meetings including how to align before the meetings and how you can know when everyone is ready to move forward.To connect with Shalini Gupta, check her out on LinkedIn.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
59 minutes | a year ago
Devin Singh on ethics of care in conversations | BCP008
Are you aware of how much you try to control how others perceive you? And what about your responsibility in conversations... to keep channels open, to care about the feelings that we create in others when we talk or when we listen?As well as encouraging us to find a way to relinquish control over how others perceive us, my guest, Devin Singh, raises with us the notion of ethics of care in our conversations. It’s a position that, with age, I’ve come to value more – that we are or ought to have concern for how others receive what we say and share in conversation exchanges way more than how others perceive us. For Devin, it’s about being kind, attentive and present in our relationships.Devin researches and teaches on the connection between religion, culture, economics and business. He’s an Associate Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA as well as being an author, speaker, leadership coach and strategist.Perhaps his point of view has been strongly shaped by his childhood living overseas with his diplomat mother and the professional path he has chosen for himself, and perhaps in part it has been pre-determined by his own DNA. And like many of us, there are things that challenge us in conversations and determine how we show up in conversations – the masks we wear in different places and with different people, our triggers, and our attempts to control how others perceive us while wanting to deeply belong to groups and people that attract us.To connect with Devin Singh, check him out on LinkedIn and visit his website.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
60 minutes | a year ago
Mark Walmsley on conversations as currency of commerce | BCP007
Just how creative are you in setting up conversations with clients? Have you pulled any stunts or wowed them in a way that gave them no option but to hire you?Conversations can play out in predictable ways - especially in client or sales pitches. You do the meet and greet, introductions, thank yous, and you probably dive straight into how great your thingamajig is. But do you ever really manage to stop your prospect in their tracks with a thought-provoking idea or a new way to view their problem or business challenge? Do you surprise and delight them?My guest, Mark Walmsley does and has - many times over. He thrives on talking to people and so networking is a comfort zone for him. And not just talking to people but having interesting conversations. You get the sense that Mark is looking at your problem or situation with a different lens - one you sometimes wish you had. He has energy but he’s calm. He’s playful in an easy and humble way rather than a showy limelight way. And he holds up a mirror for you without making you feel judged. Once you listen to this episode, you’ll get why people say they feel more creative when Mark’s around. He has loads of stories to share and he switches between work stories and family stories because for Mark, it’s all about relationships.To connect with Mark Walmsley, check him out on LinkedIn and visit his website.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
48 minutes | a year ago
Glenn Martin on conversation stamina and healthy challenging | BCP006
How do you know, through conversation, if someone is a good fit for your team and your company, both now and into the future? My guest is Talent Acquisition Project Manager, Glenn Martin. Glenn talks to a lot of people - candidates and hiring managers. Companies bring him in to find great talent and to create the best hiring experience so from reviewing CVs to the interview, making us an offer, on-boarding us and then, once we’ve joined the company, how we can grow, and what career paths are open to us. He works with several clients or companies at a time to help them make smart hiring decisions, fast.Which is no small challenge because people are sometimes unpredictable and sometimes surprising. And there’s often gap he’s helping to bridge between what a company is looking for in a new hire and what that particular individual could offer beyond the immediate need they’d be fulfilling, beyond the first 3-6 months. How does Glenn influence who gets that job offer and what influences his own decision-making? That’s all in this episode including what he does to put you at ease at the interview and how, as someone who studied sports science, he found himself in talent acquisition.To connect with Glenn Martin, check him out on LinkedIn and visit his website.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
56 minutes | a year ago
Aisha & Bhav on thriving off positive energy | BCP005
My two guests are Aisha Bano and Bhav Chawda, equal partners in A&B Tax Consultants, who set up in business together because they wanted greater autonomy over how best to serve their clients and they wanted to build stronger relationships.They are driven by a desire to really get to know their clients, they want to know about your business, and they are genuinely interested in what’s going on in your business and personal life - yes from a financial perspective but also just your life too and they’re always delighted to hear about how you’re overcoming your challenges. They get that their success depends on your success - and they’re keen to learn from you too.They also get that their clients like to know how well they’re doing too - “we’re trusting you with our business so we need to know yours is solid too.” - in that kind of a way. Over the past four years since founding A&B Tax Consultants, Aisha and Bhav have committed to meeting every single client in person, together. And, in fact, their clients have come to expect it. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting them, you’ll understand why.I asked them to be my guests because, as you’ll notice for yourself, there’s a great energy between them and personally I love seeing in that in people who’ve set-up in business together - they really do enjoy conversation as a way of getting to know you. They’re genuine and they both talk about the importance of just being themselves. What you experience of them is exactly who they are and you know that because of their laughter, their smiles, their eye contact, their hand gestures, and the way they riff off each other. And they really love working together!To learn more about Aisha and Bhav, visit A&B Tax Consultants.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
64 minutes | a year ago
Anne Chatroux on trust and childhood triggers | BCP004
My guest, Anne Chatroux, was an investment banker but she gave up that very lucrative career. While she was good at it she found that, after a while, she wasn’t that interested in it. Like many of us, her relationship as a child shaped who she is today, not without some investment in working out some old unhelpful narratives. Her work these days – coaching successful senior executives – is way more fulfilling for her, as she partners with her clients to help them expand their own sense of fulfilment, reach and impact on their world.What you just heard is an example of how she helps her clients (21:47) – to hold the bigger view of themselves than others have of them so that they can achieve that bigger reach, that bigger impact. And of course, conversations are the primary tool for her tradeI’ve got many favourite moments from my conversation with Anne about conversations like how our childhood difficulties can shape us (39:55) and give us both useful skills as adults for work and personal relationships, and narratives that become unhelpful triggers in our adult life that make connecting with others complicated.Trust comes up again and again too. “Yummy trustful conversations” are important to Anne and she talks about how when we trust the person we’re speaking to, and conversation is flowing easily, naturally, she has a sense of “being smarter than normal”. Listen to the podcast find out what she means.To learn more about Anne Chatroux, check her out on Linkedin.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
51 minutes | 2 years ago
Thom Langford on being serious and humourous | BCP003
“Security isn’t funny but it can be fun” and “information security doesn’t have to be hard” the mantras of my guest today Thom Langford - your virtual Chief Information Security Officer with a big, friendly but serious personality. Thom is always ready to engage, he does a combination of being serious in the same breath as pointing out truths and irony with humour and dry wit - not an easy mix to pull off, and he admits that, until people get to know him, occasionally some people don’t get his brand of fun or might find it intimidating.As the former Chief Information Security Officer of Publicis Groupe, Thom was responsible for all aspects of information security risk and compliance as well as managing the Groupe Information Security Programme. He now consults and does speaking gigs at information security conferences around the world.His conversation style is to listen deeply and then talk as he thinks, and he’s very comfortable correcting his own words - a verbal version of typing a sentence, deleting back a few words and then retyping something better, more accurate.What came through strongly in our conversation is how he’s watched others manage people and what he’s learned about his own experiences managing people. Things like speaking truthfully and not shying away from giving bad news while still being thoughtful, compassionate and supportive. He believes in the power of a face-to-face discussion and the eye-ball to eye-ball handshake to create credibility and trust where an email is more likely to create distance and wiggle room for excuses about why work hasn’t been delivered as agreed. When I asked him what’s influenced his conversation style, it’s his need for honesty. He talked about how being a public speaker has taught him to be more comfortable when receiving a compliment not just because it’s validating the other person’s opinion and it's the polite and gracious thing to do but also because he sees it as a gateway for a more useful, in-depth exchange - it invites further conversation and connection. He believes that not only do experiences like this grow you but they also generate respect from others towards you. If you’re a new manager, you might enjoy listening to Thom’s counsel and his shared learnings as he’s risen in seniorityWhen it comes to information security he points out that it’s a topic that’s not always well understood - it’s seen as a nice to have and an annoying part of the business that gets in the way of business. This view is changing, slowly. So it’s important that Thom can communicate the seriousness of security and have stakeholders view it as critical to the speed and resilience of the business. But that doesn’t mean the conversation can’t be fun.In talking about his best conversation and his worst conversation, Thom is a great storyteller. He speaks as things really are - he’s not looking to blame, he just names things as they are and is willing to accept responsibility for his part in a disagreement. And he’s very comfortable naming the feelings, emotions and states of mind as he takes us through work situations and significant conversations.To learn more about Thom, check him out on LinkedIn.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
50 minutes | 2 years ago
Graham Oakes on joy and being an introvert | BCP002
As a systems engineer, scientist and entrepreneur who describes himself as a deep introvert, Dr Graham Oakes FBCS, FRSA has a deep passion and fascination for working through complex problems. He really enjoys it - he says he finds it exciting. I wonder if you can pick that up from the way he talks? His voice is gentle, his choice of words is careful and his energy is constant. If you’re an extrovert, you might need to slow yourself down to match his pace of expression. And perhaps it’s his capacity for listening that tunes him into what people say and drives him to create space and time for them to get their thoughts out on the table.Graham helps people think about challenging situations in ways that draw out the opportunities and possibilities - most recently in the energy sector. He was the founder and chief scientist at Upside Energy - a company built in response to a challenge prize run by Nesta, a global innovation foundation, in 2013. Upside has built a cloud service that uses algorithms and AI to coordinate large numbers of devices like home batteries, electric vehicles, heat pumps and back-up power supplies. The aim is to make it easier to get energy onto the grid and thereby increase the use of renewable energy.In conversations with Graham you start to understand just how chaotic and complex the energy sector is but he’s optimistic about the opportunities new technology presents to us. As well as traditional energy users and providers, there are new stakeholders joining the grid which includes local community groups and prosumers - people who both consume and produce products, basically owners of smart energy systems like solar PV arrays, home batteries, electric vehicles, and so on. The best solutions aren’t always clear. In fact, often he finds his clients overwhelmed by the web of options.Graham uses his conversation style - listening, slowing down, and enquiry, to help them first understand the problem they have, and second, make choices and decisions about the best way forward. And the best way forward typically involves working out how to decarbonise the energy source in response to climate change, how to make access to energy easier and fairer, and how to take advantage of digital technologies.Given the complexity of the energy system, Graham’s work means he’s conversing with a huge range of people - government and policy makers, regulators, energy generation and supply companies, technology developers, network operators, local authorities, and property developers and facilities managers, as well as citizens like you and me, consumers, community energy groups, academics, data scientists, mathematicians, engineers, software developers, economists, financiers, and designers.He says that a key part of what he’s trying to do is to help society develop an energy system that works better for all these people - cleaner, more equitable, cost effective, and reliable for today’s generations and generations of the future.Graham has taken his deep knowledge and experience of the energy sector to help his clients across the UK and Europe do just that.We talked about what makes him successful in helping clients navigate their landscapes, what a good, joyful conversation looks like, what type of dynamic he rates as counterproductive and counter-collaborative, what has shaped his thinking about conversations, and he shares a delightful story about communicating across language and cultural barriers that perhaps you can relate to if your work takes you around the world.To learn more about Graham, check him out on LinkedIn.Click here for more episodes of Better Conversations with Sehaam Cyrene.
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