“Keep looking up….that’s the secret of life.”*


My weekly blogs have lapsed as ‘busy-ness’ got in the way.  For someone setting out on a solo business venture that surely has to be a good sign and I feel blessed that 3 years in, Institutional Adviser is going strong and I’ve worked with some amazing clients and I look forward to the diversity of conversations the flexibility of working for yourself brings.

The downside of finding myself busy is that it squeezes out time previously set aside for the more  creative, not-naturally-me me and with it the stimulation of looking at a blank piece of paper with the challenge of putting down some words that hopefully people find interesting or at the very least not offensive!

I mentioned this to my daughter yesterday evening and she berated me for not being creative – although this was in the context of the whizzy new things you can do on Photoshop, which is an altogether different level of creativity, way out of my reach.  So, given the reproach, I set pen to paper.

So, what to talk about?  Well as fortune has it, the inspiration for discussion conveniently landed in my in-box a few minutes ago courtesy of the Harvard Business Review with the title ‘use microvalidations to affirm your colleagues’[i].  With a title like that my finger was in auto-pilot hovering over the delete button, but something within it just caught my attention: “Give a nod, a warm smile, or a greeting when your colleague enters a room…” 

Reading on, the piece starts with recognising the impact of negative behaviours on our emotions – the acts of exclusion or subtle negative comments that can really weigh on us.  But it urges us to go further and actively use microvalidations – focusing on those that can really make a difference even though are so rarely done (putting away the mobile, closing down the laptop) and listening.

It reminds me of a series I have just started watching – Ted Lasso.  No doubt I’ve joined the party late, but if you haven’t seen it, Ted is an American Football coach who moves to England to coach an English premier league football team.  Ted’s management style is loud, emotional, quirky to the extreme, full of quotes and cliches but, most importantly of all, completely focuses on the positive.  His positivity is infectious, making it very hard to smile even at his most corny.

So, in the newfound blog of institutional adviser, the tip for the day – if you’re in a meeting today with colleagues, put aside the British reticence and say in good ol’ Ted Lasso style “I appreciate you”.

[i] https://hbr.org/2023/05/an-antidote-to-microaggressions-microvalidations?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_campaign=mtod_actsubs&utm_content=signinnudge

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