Development that sticks

what to do when you’ve completed a development programme and you’re still not there…

You have completed the programme, acquired the shiny new folder (or funky memory stick) and returned to work.  And you are wondering… why the same struggles and blocks are still showing up.  Confused?

How about becoming more interested in what’s going on inside? Research shows, when you tackle the inner game, the outer game changes, it provides another level of understanding.  An inside out approach to development helps us to see in new ways.  It refreshes our thinking and provides new opportunities to move into the future.

Say, on your leadership programme, you talked about how to manage difficult people. You were given a model, understood your conflict response, both helpful. Although a more challenging and I believe useful lens would be to understand what makes a person difficult to you. What do you believe about the person, what does that belief give you, what has influenced it and why might that be important to you?

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” Management consultant Margaret Wheatley


When you consider the most effective leaders, it’s not the toolkit they may have, they impress from their way of being. What makes a person effective, is not the processes they are taught, it’s being able to connect and understand themselves and achieve greater relationships and impact by the development and use of their sense of wholeness.

Wholeness: the state of forming a complete and harmonious whole; unity.

To understand your authentic self is immensely powerful. For many the approach they took to defining themselves was adopted through seeing others and the need to conform. For a leader, understanding their inner world, where they are coming from, enables them to create an outer world that is authentic, increasing their influence and creating more powerful connections. When you can see your worldview; you can see that of others.

Developing inner world knowledge includes understanding fears, needs, drivers, beliefs, values, mindset and ego to increasingly master self. Our traits are also inner world roommates; our relationships with honesty, passion, vision, risk-taking, guilt, compassion, courage, authenticity, collaboration, vulnerability, humility, intuition and wisdom define us greatly.

A person who holds a fear of failure may have a difficult relationship with risk-taking. It may cause them to struggle to make decisions that involve risk, require them to gather considerable amounts of data and evidence to support their decision-making. In today’s fast-moving marketplace this could mean the difference between success and failure.


For many of us, there are periods of our life where we are conflicted; life is complex and it’s getting more so, with multiple demands and expectations. When we don’t understand our memories and traits and the values they have formed, we can become trapped by them. The inner conflict and confusion can cause us to react unhelpfully or retreat.


Leadership is about relationships, and the biggest tool a leader has to work with is themselves. Getting to know yourself in the challenges you face, being curious about them and what’s feeding them is hugely powerful.

“Great leadership is connected with the deepest parts of ourselves. It has more to do with character, courage and conviction than it does with specific skills or competencies.” Anderson and Adams (2015)

IIn our recent webinar, people shared the leaders that inspired them. Commonly these people had a strong purpose, authenticity and led through passion, often in adversity. The leaders we aspire to be won’t be formulaic, they will true to themselves.

Leaders must have the ability to create space so that people want to come in and do great things. Development is a lifelong journey, as you move through yours, when things get tough, keep an eye on the inside – it’s massive!

Until next time.

Warmest wishes,