Today has been a time to remember the sacrifice and bravery of many police officers. I felt it right to devote my blog to this important subject. There are many people who face difficult and challenging times at work, but there are few of us who will potentially put our own lives at risk to help others. It is why I still find I am immensely proud to work for one of the emergency services.
The loss of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes affected a huge number of people. My thoughts have always been with those close family members who were going about their daily business only to have their world shattered by the horrific news that they were not coming home. They are remembered by many people and the memorial unveiled today will ensure that many more will remember them and the sacrifice they made.
Tonight are the Police Bravery awards in London when every police force will have an inspirational story about officers putting themselves at risk to protect others. I am always amazed by what officers do and after 17 years working alongside them this has not changed. We should all take some time to recognise the contribution made to individuals and communities, and say thank you. Say thank you because they do a job that most of us just would not be able to do.
Of course we know there is good and bad in everything and in every profession. Not all police officers provide selfless service to communities and unfortunately these few are often the ones that hit the headlines. Police communicators and others are doing what they can to highlight the acts of heroism and bravery, and where police officers and staff go above and beyond. Those are the stories that are worthy of recognition on a daily basis.
Today though is mainly about two colleagues – Fiona and Nicola – who were taken from their families, friends, Greater Manchester Police and communities. They must always be remembered, now and in the future, for the sacrifice they made. I hope their families found some comfort in the memorial unveiled today.
There is no way of escaping politics. It has been on all the TV news channels all day, in fact for quite a few days. This blog will steer away from the politics but it has taken some of the events of today as its inspiration. When Theresa May took up the post as Prime Minister she outlined what she stood for. Is this something we should all do?
If you were asked to do the same do you think you could do it? Would you be able to easily outline what was important to you, what you were supportive of and what you wanted to achieve in the next 12 months? I would imagine most of us would need a bit of time to be able to unpick it but also then start to put it together in a way that other people would understand.
Imagine then that we ask people that know you to do this same and outline what they believe you stand for. Could they do it? More than that would their detailed explanation match yours?
We can often be inconsistent in how we approach life and how we make our decisions. However, we all have some principles that we adhere to, those elements that are of crucial importance to us. We often have taken these principles with us throughout our life and they are formed during our early years.
I think it would be useful for all of us to be able to articulate what we stand for. It helps us to understand ourselves by a period of introspection, but it also means we can take stock of our views. Effectively we can step back from the hustle and bustle of daily life and check where we are and what we are doing before stepping back into the fray.
This weekend I am going to use the opportunity a little bit of free time and will aim to outline what I stand for and what matters to me. Then I will reflect on what this means. I will update about the results in a future blog so watch this space.
I saw an interesting tweet today that said the role of CEO now needed them to be ‘chief storyteller’. It sounds like a phrase that hits all the latest fads and trends in communication. I have written before about the importance of telling stories to humans and how it can bring us together, making us more social. But I do have a problem with the connotation it brings to talk about storytelling.
Everyone wants the CEO to embody the principles, values and behaviour that are required for the organisation. People want the person at the top to be honest and have integrity. They want to know that whatever the boss says it will happen and it is not just hot air. This makes any discussion about ‘storytelling’ problematic because it feels as though we are being entertaining at the expense of truth.
We do require the CEO to be able to articulate the future of the organisation or business. They have to easily explain where we are now and where we need to be in the coming years. They have to be able to make the dusty plans become lively explanations relevant to the current workplace. It means the senior management have to understand what life is like on the frontline of the business.
They will not be able to bridge the gap between frontline and the corporate plans without having a detailed knowledge of the business from the frontline staff and user perspective. Without this knowledge they will lack authenticity and will fail to make the picture of the future relevant to the workforce.
The role of the CEO has changed now and has to be more things to more people. Our expectations of them have increased. In these challenging financial times we want to know that there is a plan for the future, what it means and how we fit into it. The person at the top has to make all that happen. This pressure means there are opportunities for professional communicators to step in and support the person at the top to make this happen. Perhaps it is more about building a future than telling a story.
We often blame the environment around us for the way we feel. I am as guilty as most for saying the weather was getting me down, work is causing me frustration or the lack of something is making me miserable. It is all too easy to believe that happiness and a sense of contentment comes from what is around us. It isn’t.
The key to our feelings is within us and we have to get in touch with that if we are going to lift our mood. If this was easy then we would all be doing it but it isn’t and that is why we spend time surrounding ourselves with things. We buy things, we gain things, and we look to things to make us feel happier. To be fair, when I go shopping then I usually do feel happy but only for a short time. Once the credit card bill arrives I know I am not going to feel happy.
Instead, I know that if I have spent some time in contemplation or meditation then I am likely to have a happiness that is longer lasting. This is also the way that I can build inner resilience to the daily turmoil of life. I will know then that the weather is not really important and will change later or tomorrow anyway. I will be able to see the positive elements of work and I will realise that what I am missing is within me and not outside.
I have blogged many times about the importance of saying thank you and recognising what you have, and of having a positive outlook on life. It seems the simplest thing and yet it is so difficult for us to achieve it. Recently, I have neglected both elements and I have suffered the consequences. If we don’t do any exercise for a few weeks then we feel it physically and it is the same if we fail to exercise our minds in a positive way.
Tomorrow is Monday morning and typically a day for us to feel low and a chance to moan about work, rain or whatever. Perhaps we should focus on gratitude and positivity for the next 24 hours. Let me know if you do and how the day goes.