Featured Articles

Paul Mudd

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

“The radical openness of not knowing is a more adequate stance toward life and experience than believing or pretending to know.”

Getting Back

In its annual report, the World Economic Forum lists resilience, stress tolerance, flexibility and influence as essential skills for a post pandemic workplace, and for several months now colleagues have been preparing themselves to physically re-enter new (work) spaces.

But as schools, colleges and universities return and Autumn marches on reality is now beginning to bite, and not just because Covid has completely changed the relationship between employers and employees.

We are all at different stages on our journey and in our meaning-making, because although we may have been in the same storm not everyone has been standing witness to it from the same boat.

So, whilst we may ask ourselves where the balance will finally lie as we physically return to work if we have not already done so, some of us will feel more vulnerable and uncertain than others.

And we take a more negative view of our own vulnerability than we do of the vulnerability of others, which is known as the ‘Vulnerability Mismatch’.

Researchers also call this the “beautiful mess effect”, because whilst we tend to think about our own vulnerability in concrete terms, when we think of another person’s vulnerability we do so in the abstract.

Now though, more than ever, it is a time to become comfortable with our own vulnerability and be for others as we apply the salve of acceptance, compassion, and overwhelming heart.

It is also the time to think differently, challenge the unchallengeable, avoid the ‘easy answers’ trap, gain crucial insights and create a new landscape of possibilities.

We need to become ‘anti-fragile’. Characteristically adaptable, resilient, and robust. Able to not just endure change but go out of our way to work with it and understand how we can benefit from it.

We need to be thinking performers i.e. those who don’t just ask “where’s the cheese” but go off in swift and bold pursuit.

Or, put another way, before the crisis it was said that 80% of the workforce came to work with their arms and legs, 15% with their arms, legs and head, and 5% with the arms, legs, head and heart! These are your Thinking Performers!

We need a new architecture and a new mindset. With ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things, as they take a both/and, rather than an either/or approach.

Agents of recovery and regrowth – ‘You’, ‘Me’, ‘I’ and‘We’ not ‘They’ – And characterized by a ‘Triple A’ approach approach of Anticipating, Accepting & Adapting​.

That Was Then, This Is Now

In a previous piece for FE News published in May 2020, I wrote about what leadership would now need to look, feel and be like to be fit for purpose for a new future normal.

Although a Cri de Coeur, you’ll perhaps feel it’s title was a tad over-optimistic: “Coronavirus – The New Normal & How To Work With It – Just Tell Me How This Ends.”

There will be no abrupt end!

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is not going to disappear. It will continue to mutate because that is what any virus will do as it attempts to survive. Over time though hopefully the repercussions of this will wane.

And COVID-19 will cede, to become endemic and something we must just live with.

Uncertainty, social and political upheaval, pandemics, wars, suffering and strife, are all part of the lived human experience. They are all part of both our history and our future. Which is why language, narrative building and meaning making are so important.

Virus or not – and a VUCA world, or a pluralistic, interdependent, post-modern, and complicated world – what now needs to come to the fore is our common humanity, a universal compassion, the pursuit of a new language of possibilities, and a resolute and all-encompassing courage, including the courage to choose.

But along with compassion and courage, we are going to need vulnerability too, which must coalesce in what I would term ‘Bold Leadership’!

Uncertainty Is The Only Certainty

Even after 19 months of a pandemic, so much remains uncertain and that really is our only certainty.

Recent events confirm our world is nothing but change and a network of events that never form an orderly queue.

So, we must continue to steel ourselves for a long haul. To continue to dig deep, and then deeper still.

And for the next hard yards as we navigate to the outer edges and hopefully beyond this pandemic, we will need an elephant’s sufficiency of resilience, stamina, and tolerance.

There will though be many things that will get in the way if we allow them.

For example, being unable to act and exercise our agency, a paucity of emotional intelligence, being fragile rather than anti-fragile, or failing to place our vulnerability at the heart of our leadership.

So, we are also going to need some ‘Handrails or Harnesses’ to get through the next bit!

Vulnerability Sounds Like Truth, Feels Like Courage

Vulnerability can give us our agency and the way to build back better. Vulnerability and having a radical openness to not knowing, can be the release and birthplace of creativity and change.

It can also be the essence of all meaningful human experience, and what allows ordinary people, quiet on Twitter, but strong in spirit and resolute in action, to do extra-ordinary things.

Everyday heroes living their vulnerability. Digging deep then deeper still, and Bungee jumping into the unknown, whilst not knowing whether the metaphorical Harness and Shock Cord in which they put their trust will do their job and keep them safe.

Vulnerability embraces boundaries and trust, and Handrails on the other hand are about boundaries, and safety, both psychological and physical. You can hold onto them. They can guide you. They provide stability when you wobble, but they require you to be active, rather than passive. To take steps. To interact.

So, Will It Be Handrails Or Harnesses?

As we try to make sense and meaning, and gird ourselves physically, emotionally, psychologically, and intellectually to re-enter new and changed spaces, Handrails are going to be rather important!

Examples might be peer-to-peer support, creating a psychological safe space for messy conversations to take place where people can talk authentically about what they are feeling and what they need, making the implicit explicit, and encouraging moments of creation and appreciation.

All of which will create value, nurture, and sustain a climate of respect and care, and encourage vibrant work and re-growth.

Whilst Harnesses are things that you step into when taking a big and deliberate step. Or, when you do extra-ordinary things, although not necessarily Bungee jumping!

They do not guide, they hold. You put your trust in them and they can take all the strain as you step into the unknown.

And as we are all different, and our experience of this pandemic has been very personal some of us will need Harnesses, whilst others will need Handrails to do the same thing?

If we believe that this is truly important, then it is our responsibility as employers, leaders, influencers, and policy makers, to focus, frame, lobby and provide the support needed.

We cannot make assumptions about what people will choose, but if are we mindful of the questions we ask of ourselves and others and create the right conditions by listening to the answers, we can provide the right choices.

And we must be ready to provide whatever support is required.

How Then Should We Now Live?

For Socrates, “How should we live?” was a fundamental ethical question.

I say, Let us do so day-by-day, and one step at a time. Exercising our Agency, making choices and living in gratitude, as we remember the words of Henry David Thoreau.

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual, It is surprising how contented one can be with just a sense of existence.”

Our default must not now be race back to something. Rather, we must go forward, with our Harnesses, or Handrails, or both!

We could also encourage in others and start for ourselves a new daily self-reflective practice of asking these six simple questions:

  • Did I work towards my goals today?
  • Have I been the kind of person I want to be today?
  • What am I grateful for today?
  • What bad habits do I need to stop today?
  • What mistakes did I make today and what can I learn from them? &
  • What motivated me today?

And let us not forget, “The strongest people in life are the ones that are comfortable saying, ‘I don’t know’.” Patrick Lencioni

Paul Mudd is a Trusted Adviser, Leadership Provocateur, Savvy Thinker, International Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Mindfulness Author, Global Well Being & Well Doing Influencer, Co-Founder and Director of 

.

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Maliha Safiullah has published a new article: How to Get a Scholarship: 10 Tips for Success 14 hours 52 minutes ago
AELP Webinar Team added a new event 16 hours

Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers – Refresh 2021

Overview It has been nearly two years since the ESFA refreshed the current Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, therefore it is time for...

  • Thursday, 14 October 2021 10:00 AM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page