Why is Purpose so important to achieving a successful outcome? #2 #cong22


Coming soon

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Coming soon

About Carol Passemard

I moved to Ireland from the UK 10 years ago; along with my husband and it was the best thing we have ever done. I have lived in many different places both in the UK and the Middle East and been through the ‘University of Life!’ In moving to Connemara I finally feel as if I have come home even though I am not Irish. I also moved my business, Breakthrough Retreat. Most of my clients come to work on a 1:1 basis (or as a couple) – they usually stay in Clifden for 2 to 3 days. Why do they want my assistance? because they are stuck and at a crossroads in their life. They come from all over Ireland, UK, Europe and I even had a client come from Brazil last year. What I do is help them discover the tools and techniques that can help them to build a better life for themselves. Despite the challenges clients have to deal with clients they usually leave here knowing what they need to do in make change happen. My approach is holistic and it is not counselling. Should they require further assistance after their Breakthrough Retreat we work online. It is very rewarding and a privilege to work with clients who then go and make a significant difference to their lives.

Contacting Carol Passemard

You can follow Carol on BreakThroughRetreat or contact her through email.

By Carol Passemard

Have you ever experienced children between the ages of 0-7 who constantly ask the question, Why?

  • Why do we have to go to bed?
  • Why do we have to go to school?
  • Why do we need to eat our dinner before we get our sweets?

And a myriad of other questions – Why?

We all lead busy lives and it is very easy to reply with:  “because I told you so….” But you have not satisfied their enquiring minds.  All they want to know is the purpose – what is expected of them.  What are the boundaries?

The word because provides them with history and that can often air on the side of negativity:

“Because you have been naughty today, because you had a late night last night”

“Because everyone has to go to school whether you like it or not! Because you have to learn your lessons.”

“Because you have not eaten anything all day.”

etc etc…

None of those responses are particularly attractive or motivating to a child.

Many of us in adult life are still behaving in this way!

In the early 1990s my late husband, Paul, was doing some consultancy work in the UK Treasury.  There he found himself in a meeting with Ian who he had not seen for 17 years.  In those days they had both been working for Esso and attended an intensive teamworking training course with a company called Coverdale.

During their meeting in the Treasury, Paul and Ian discovered they were both using the same techniques they had learned whilst working with Esso.  The techniques were all based around “Purpose” and were known to them as “A Methodical Approach to getting work done”.

Here are some interesting statistics:

When embarking on a project or task in business the way we think tends to fit into four distinct categories:

  1. Why?

Around 35% of a group will be asking the question ‘Why?”  These people are seeking meaning.  They need to be involved and motivated from the outset of an idea.  They learn by listening and sharing ideas with others.  These people are usually innovators and their questions need to be satisfied before they are bought into an idea/project/task.

  1. What?

What is this all about? Those who fit into this category are seeking information and 22% of a group will need more information before they are prepared to commit to anything new.  For these people it is important to change our language to gain their commitment.

For example:  In reference to the children’s questions notice what happens when we respond with “In order to…”

  • “In order to listen to the story we started last night we shall then find out what happens to the princess.”
  • “In order to discover what you are really brilliant at and find the best opportunities in life for you.So you can thrive and be happy
  • “In order to have fit healthy bodies and then you can enjoy have fun”

You may well have to drill down to some specifics in order to really motivate your children.

Notice that those three simple words “in order to” throw you out into the future and can make life so much more positive.

The same happens in business.  You will find greatly improved rapport from your team when they understand purposeand have information that backs up the purpose of an idea/project or task.

  1. How?

Have you noticed in your team that occasionally as soon as you suggest a new idea/project/task some of the team (around 18%) will immediately jump into action!  They want to know how things work.  These people learn by testing theories in ways that make sense to them.  These people are extremely useful in a team once you have established:

  • A clear purpose
  • Who your customer is
  • What you are wanting as an outcome
  • How long you have got to make it happen
  • What has to be done in order to achieve your outcome
  • You have a clear plan
  • And you are at a stage when you are ready to allocate tasks

Then you are ready to go into action.

BUT if you try to bring them on board at the concept of an idea they can cost you time and money by derailing and confusing that simple question – Why are we doing this project?  They are not really interested in purpose.  They just want to get on with the job.

  1. Self Discovery

Finally there are some team members (around 25%) who are on the path of self-discovery.   They seek hidden possibilities.  They need to know what can be done with things.  They learn by trial and error.  They have a tendency to procrastinate and keep asking questions before taking action.  The best way to satisfy their needs is to be very clear on purpose before involving them and then you can give them a clear idea on what you are aiming for – your intended outcome. Prefix your answers with:  “Just suppose we get this task completed by (time and date) imagine how we shall be seen as a successful team who is prepared to work together in order to achieve our intended outcome.

Over 20 years ago Paul and I designed and set up our own teamworking workshops and spent a lot of time working with both public and private organisation assisting them in learning life changing skills all around Purpose.  We ran a 4-day workshop that included both indoor and outdoor activities that helped our clients recognise the importance of having a Methodical Approach to Getting Work Done.  Not only did this include being very clear on purpose, they also learned many other life changing skills around:

  • Observation
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Starting a project and handing it on to a new group part way through
  • Taking on a project that had been started by someone else and seeing it through to a successful conclusion
  • Listening
  • Effective communication
  • The importance of constant review
    • what went well and why
    • what was not so successful
    • how can we plan to improve for next time
  • Skills that were needed to be part of a team
  • Skill to lead a team

We had a lot of fun conducting these workshops and in 2000, as our millennium project, we took our workshop to St Vincent in the Caribbean to work with the Bishop of the Windward Islands, his clergy, youth group leaders and other members of staff.  It was a memorable and wonderful experience.

Last year a UK government department, who had heard about our workshops, contacted me and asked me to run a teamworking workshop for 22 of their staff.  However due to their time constraints and COVID; the rules and the workshop had to change.  My client only had time to have 5 half-day sessions and they had to be conducted online.

Not to be outdone by this Paul and I designed a very successful workshop that meant we divided them into 3 groups.  I ran the sessions over about 5 weeks.  At the outset the group were very negative and grumpy about having to give up precious time. By the final session they were motivated and recognised the usefulness of the skills they had learned and could be used in any team situation in the future.  Wherever they may be working.  The feedback was very positive.

It was a tremendous tribute to Paul who had taught me all the skills included in the course.  He passed away soon after it had ended.  His purpose in this life was done.  With a smile on his face, his final words to me were “On to my next career!”  I have no doubt somewhere he is sharing his amazing talents with other beings.  RIP Paul.

Comic on Purpose #1 #cong22


A short comic about purpose.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. There is no divine purpose.
  2. Find things you like doing, and do them.

About Alan O'Rourke

Mild-mannered marketing man by day. Caped PictureBook maker by night. Emerging writer & artist working in children’s art & literature.
Based in Bettystown, Co Meath, Alan has worked as a designer, creative director and marketer for over 15 years winning many awards including a BAFTA nomination.

Alans’ work can be found  at spoiltchild

Contacting Alan O'Rourke

You can connect with Alan on TwitterLinkedIn  and Wilson Keys.  For his illustration work see SpoiltChild and Instagram.

By Alan O’Rourke

The Purpose Library @cong22

CongRegation Library

Finding inspiration or even reference points for CongRegation submissions can be difficult.  This year is no exception except the theme of Purpose forces us to really think a big deeper.  This is not something that is easy to instantly activate and my own experience is that in devouring books on the topic I am not only enriched but also leave with new and unexpected questions or mental ‘itches’ on aspects I would like to explore further.

With this in mind I have curated recommended books on the ‘Purpose’ and will add more as we inch closer to CongRegation in November.  I am offering these books on loan to anyone who would like to read them.  The rules are simple and self explanatory but I am happy to post them to you.


  1. Only request a book if you really intend to read.
  2. Please set yourself a tight deadline of 2/3 weeks.
  3. Request only one book at a time.
  4. Be willing to forward on to another person if requested.
  5. Please add notations and notes to future readers – just don’t tear out pages or redact words.
  6. Enjoy.

The tick box on the side indicates if it the book is out on loan or not.  Simply email me with your postal address quoting the book you are interested in.

Activate Brand Purpose by Scott Goodson and Chip Walker

The greatest challenge facing leaders is activating and actioning purpose based brands to the people who matter inside the company and out. Recent statistics prove that more than 87 percent of consumers would purchase a product, because a company advocated for an issue they cared about, and more than two-thirds would refuse to do so if the company supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.


CongRegation Celebrates 10 Years on Purpose

CongRegation (www.congregation.ie) #cong22, the annual mind mesh unconference, marks its 10th year with a return to Cong Village, Co Mayo from Nov25-27th under the ‘Purpose’ theme.

Attracting attendees from all over Ireland and overseas the event will see over 100 people earning their entry via a submission on the topic and debate it in small face to face huddles spread throughout Cong Village.

The event kicks off with a night of ‘Purpose Tales’ in Ashford Castle on Friday 25th November, followed by the all day unconference on Saturday 26th.  Saturday evening will see a variety of social events from a poetry open mic, sketch crawl to purpose workshops.  The event will finish with a social event in Cong Woods on the Sunday of that weekend.

In order to earn a ticket each attendee submits a 600 word article, via the website, outlining their own unique perspectives, thoughts and experiences on the theme of ‘Purpose’, all of which are published on the event website.  These submissions form the basis of the presentations on Saturday November 26th in small huddles of 10-12 people.  Each huddle is chaired and attendees are given 10-15 minutes to share the insights from their submission followed by a group discussion.  The huddles rotate 4 times giving all attendees the opportunity to present and meet as many of the other attendees as possible, in a peer to peer environment.

“This is probably the most challenging topic to date” commented event organiser Eoin Kennedy.  “For some people they only consider their purpose when faced with life or death situations, for others its their guiding principle while many businesses see it a central part of their culture.  Debating of this topic echoes back to the early philosophers yet it remains elusive and rarely given the airing it deserves, despite its importance.   Exploration of Purpose can be unsettling, highly motivating and most certainly deeply personal.   As each attendee captures their thinking in the submissions in advance of the weekend in November it means they are more open to informed debate and questioning.  Outside of the rich and stimulating discussions the event also forges deep and serendipitous connections, due to the informal presentation style and social locations used for the event.”

CongRegation is a free event and would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors Blacknight Solutions, Mayo.ie. MKC Communications, ICBE Advanced Productivity Network, Grow Remote and Common Purpose.

All the submissions to date can be viewed on the website.  Submissions are now being accepted via the online form https://congregation.ie/submit-entry/

  • Ends –

For further information

Eoin Kennedy


086 8339549

What’s Rare is Valuable – Decision Making Defines the Leader #52 #cong21


Good leaders make good decisions. The process may change. Some steps are easier that others, some steps can break down under pressure, but if you have someone at the helm who is a sense maker, who is empathetic, creative and capable of assessing alternates clearly and capable of establishing the merit, in context and while staying independent of vested interests, then you have a decision maker… and you have a leader.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Leadership is characterised by many traits of which decision making is a distinguisher.
  2. The value of a leader is not about the volume of input but the impact of output.
  3. Good leaders create meaning in context for those around them.
  4. Good leaders can connect options and likelihood of success rate to arrive at good decisions

About Padraig McKeon

A Sligoman based in Dublin, Padraig McKeon has been either studying or working in Communications since the early 1980s

He has his fingers in a range of pies, paid and unpaid, as a consultant and a director. He also lectures in DCU, is the dad to three opinionated young women and is sports mad.

He is innately curious and loves making connections between his experiences and problems that need solving… and it only takes a cup of tea to get him going.

Contacting Padraig McKeon

You can connect with Padraig on Twitter and LinkedIn or send him an email.

By Padraig McKeon

It’s a familiar refrain that we hear a couple of times a year, whether spurred by the latest unpopular decision by a government, the reappointment of a controversial executive by a public company or the sacking of a high-profile sports manager – “how can they be paid so much?”

A lot of the misunderstanding lies in the presumption that remuneration is about working ‘harder’ and that there is a correlation between hard work, or effort, and reward.

The reality is that high reward is mostly about paying for something that is rare – an ability that few have and that even fewer can execute and deliver on, consistently, while under pressure and in any prevailing conditions.

There’s a lot written about leadership – about ‘soft skills’, emotional intelligence, and most of all good communications skills but a critical distinguishing characteristic of the leader in any organisation is the ability to make a decision. The capacity to make decisions is what they are paid the big bucks for.

More particularly it is about making decisions that are good and that is it is a rare ability. The renowned consultant and educator Peter Drucker, regarded by many as the father of modern ‘’management” thinking, noted that “effective executives do not make a great many decisions. They concentrate on what is important… They want impact rather than technique”!

So, what marks out the decision maker, how does one get good at making decisions.

The decision-making process can be broken down in different ways but a University of Massachusetts summary paper, I saw recently set it out well as a process delivered in seven steps

  1. Identify the decision required
  2. Gather relevant information
  3. Identify the alternatives
  4. Weigh the options,
  5. Choose among the alternatives,
  6. Take action and execute
  7. Review and evaluate

That’s the process but what are the characteristics of the person that can deliver across all the steps – what are the characteristics we should look for that are, apparently, worth so much.

Sense making. We live in a time of dynamic, high speed information flow. There’s a lot of, often raw, data that needs to be shaped into intelligence. It’s a skill to apply meaning to the information around us, in context.
Empathy. The ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others – those that might be impacted by circumstances – from their point of view, but dispassionately.
Creativity and innovation. The capability to see outcomes or solutions, and to have the capacity to envisage options and alternative approaches to a situation.
Judgment. The capacity to interpret what is available in terms of evidence that points to the right option.
Independence. The ability to ‘stay above’ the pull of those that might have a particular interest.

Good leaders make good decisions. The process may change. Some steps are easier that others, some steps can break down under pressure, but if you have someone at the helm who is a sense maker, who is empathetic, creative and capable of assessing alternates clearly and capable of establishing the merit, in context and while staying independent of vested interests, then you have a decision maker… and you have a leader.

Leadership in my Second Brain #51 #cong21


Leadership is a prime topic that has followed me from my days as an Air Force officer. Thoughts about leadership are deeply embedded into my second brain.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Deep thoughts about leadership are on my book shelf.
  2. There’s a visual dimension of leadership I can see in photos, screenshots, and whiteboard snaps I’ve saved.
  3. I’ve learned a lot about leadership by culling flows of social media.
  4. I make my biggest impact with leaders when (1) I share high quality snippets (2) I can suggest and track action steps.

About Bernie Goldbach

Bernie Goldbach is an American in Ireland who teaches creative media for business in the Technological University of the Shannon.

Contacting Bernie Goldbach

Find Bernie Goldbach on all good social networks as @topgold. He posts regularly on Twitter and LinkedIn. For deep thoughts, head over to Inside View.

By Bernie Goldbach

Since #cong21 is very public, I asked my bookshelf about leadership and I fell into a rabbit hole about ancient history. Deep thinking about leadership is a good thing.

While in university, several professors revealed the important role of leaders in military campaigns. I read part of Edward Gibbon’s seminal work on the Roman Empire and heard Robert Paterson cite the legions during his opening address at reboot9 in Copenhagen. Ten years ago I recorded a podcast that combined elements of Paterson’s speech along with some thoughts of my own about fraternity and literacy that complement leadership. I wish I had a better audio library because that podcast segment included some very deep thoughts. Fortunately, one part of my second brain (Flickr) has a note from the podcast session.

Leading with Data

I know I’m lucky to occupy a senior role as a university lecturer. I have taught students since the early 80s and should be retired but instead I want to soldier on through the next iteration of the creative multimedia degree programme that I helped articulate in 2002 in Ireland. To ensure I can lead from the front of the classroom, I continue to refine and share information that I cull from my second brain. When reduced to its core essence, it’s just a set of trusted sources. I plan to share these sources during a virtual huddle with people connecting in the Congregation.

Some of these trusted links extend back to webmaster-shoptalk, boing boing, slashdot, and boards.ie. I don’t actually visit those sites regularly. Instead, I listen to musings on those sites and then ask AI to surface the most interesting snippets.

Working with the data

It means nothing to gather information if you don’t intend to master elements of the data you trust. In my working world, a lot of important data points surface inside email threads. As much as I abhor email, I know it’s important to master its flow or I am relegated. So I’ve started setting up alerts that push to my mobile phone and I’m using “focus” as an essential service inside Microsoft Outlook. Best of all, I’ve convinced university students to circumvent email and use Teams chat or direct messaging to reach me fastest. And I’ve totally removed the whack-a-mole sequence of “when can we meet” by using Calendly to book time to chat.

Leading with Data from Second Brain

I realised something very important while locked down during COVID when my main channel of conversation happened only during virtual meetings. I realised I made my biggest impact by sharing (1) qualified snippets with (2) suggested action steps. This realisation has become a hidden aspect of leadership for me.

How this works for me and how someone might borrow the workflow is something I intent to share during the 2021 meet-up in Cong.

The Rest of the Story

To follow more thoughts about leadership, you could visit InsideView.ie, my Old Skool Blog.

Leadership and Closing the Gender Gap #50 #cong21


The future of leadership is gender equality. When women are at the decision making table better, more holistic, risk averse decisions are made that are good for everyone.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. We need gender quota legalisation not voluntary targets.
  2. We must to close the gender pay gap.
  3. More Flexible and Remote work grows gender equality.
  4. Women’s Sport is driving a change in societal norms.

About Barry Mac Devitt

Barry has spent most of his career in marketing working for a number of multinationals across the food and telco sectors. He has also worked on the agency side too, so he knows the other side of the fence as well.

More recently though he was CEO of DesignTwentyFirst Century a not-for-profit that was one Ireland’s pioneers in promoting design thinking as an approach to advancing solutions, engendering change and unlocking new ways of learning in people. Some of this work was featured by Jeanne Liedtka, one of the worlds leading authorities on design thinking, in her bestselling book ‘Solving Problems with Design Thinking’.

He is now an independent consultant who wants a more gender balanced future for his three daughters.

Contacting Barry Mac Devitt

You can connect with Barry on LinkedIn.

By Barry Mac Devitt

Men and women have long had unequal access to leadership and positions of authority in Irish society and in the workplace. Despite significant gains over the past 40 years, this inequality still persists today.

Women are still significantly under-represented in senior decision-making positions in Ireland’s public and private sectors, in politics and on state and non-state boards. Women comprised just 22% in 2020 of Irish listed corporate boards, while incredibly 19% of listed companies had no female directors at all. The situation is somewhat better on state boards which now comprise 41.5% female directors but its taken over 25 years to get to this.

The latest CSO also continues to highlight the gender pay gap, which stands at 14.4% which means that across the workforce, women earn – on average – 14.4% less than men for every hour they work.

This still exists despite the vast majority of people in Ireland, over 75% according to latest research by WorkEqual, believing that this needs to change urgently and be driven by government.

The wider benefit that gender equality brings not just in business but in society as a whole I hope should be undisputed at this stage. Research consistently shows that diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams and that having women at C-suite level doesn’t just make businesses more profitable but its better for employee welfare, work life balance and the organisations wider impact in society.

In the current pandemic you just have to look at the countries where women are heads of state to see shining examples of effective leadership. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, Germany and Slovakia have been internationally recognised for the effectiveness of their response. These women leaders were proactive in managing the virus, implementing social distancing restrictions early, seeking expert advice to inform health strategies and unifying the country around a comprehensive response with transparent and compassionate communication.

Put simply when women are at the decision making table better, more holistic, risk averse decision are made that are good for everyone. Had we had more women on the boards of the banks leading up to the 2008 financial crash one wonders if it ever would have happened.

So I think the future of good leadership starts with speeding up gender equality.

I don’t claim to have all the solutions here and there certainly isn’t one silver bullet but here are five things to speed up the change:

1) Bring in gender quota legalisation to force private companies to have at least 40% gender balance on their boards. Positive laws imposing gender quotas, rather than voluntary targets, generate the most significant improvements in gender balance in the workforce. This has been demonstrated in the countries where legalisation has recently come into force – France, Holland, Italy, Greece, Belgium and Germany. This was also a key recommendation by our Citizen Assembly on Gender Equality. When women are in leadership positions that shape business policy there is a trickle down effect that benefits not just other women but everyone.

2) Close the Gender Pay Gap. Legislation compelling employers in Ireland to disclose their gender pay gaps was enacted in 2021. This legislation needs to be enforced over the coming months and years not just in compliance but also by incentivising employers to make meaningful progress in tackling the issue i.e. by being required to submit an action plan to close their gender pay gaps at the same time as making their disclosure.

3) More flexible and remote working. If there has been any silver lining as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic its been in that we can have more flexible work options including remote working and still be productive. More employers now have realised the benefits of these work options for both women and men.

4) Leadership Team balance – ladders to the board. Quotas don’t apply to leadership teams but this where future female talent has to be nurtured otherwise backsliding occurs. Support, training and mentorship are all required to constantly grow this pipeline.

5) Changing societal norms. As a father of three girls I’m super conscious of the gender stereotyping thats exists all around us and from an incredibly early age. But I’m encouraged when I see the groundswell of change happening particularly in things like sport. Women’s participation and success in sports like soccer, GAA, hockey, golf, sailing, boxing and recent media campaigns like 20×20 ‘if she cant see it, she can’t be it’ are all really encouraging signs of a positive shift that is happening.

The future of good leadership is gender equality, let’s make it happen.

Sport and Leadership #49 #cong21


Does sport, particularly for female athletes, develop leadership abilities for business and lead to better career success?

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Always be true to yourself
  2. Know your values
  3. Sporting traits transfer well to business
  4. View sport as a lens for society

About Yvonne Comer

I spent years working in London before returning to Ireland to do an MBA and I’m now a budding entrepreneur who has started a business that is going to revolutionise video analytics for sport.

I played a multitude of sports when I was younger and I’m a former rugby international who now coaches, manages and like any good volunteer has many other hats that I wear in my local rugby club.

I’m one of the first women nominated onto the IRFU Board alongside my former Irish captain. Meetings are my new going out…

I like to learn about new things and then quickly forget how much time and effort studying takes so I put myself through it all again.

Contacting Yvonne Comer

You can connect with Yvonne by email.

By Yvonne Comer

Leadership is an interesting concept and it’s been fascinating over the years to see how people’s thoughts have evolved in what makes a leader and if it can be a learned skill. This is something I’m still not sure about, do you need to have a traumatic event happen to enable vertical development, can you grow naturally with experience or is it like great athletes who have innate ability and talent that can be trained to become exceptional?

I had a Director years ago that was highly critical of my leadership style when I first moved into a management position, as it wasn’t the authoritative style that was his default approach. This style was always one that I struggled with before I knew what a good manager or leader looked like, but his criticism was something I carried with me for a long time that affected my self-belief. Thankfully I stayed true to my own style and remained authentic in my interactions which have brought me to where I am today. More recently as I’ve learned more theory around leadership, I can see how my early experiences of being involved in sport has helped me develop some of the characteristics, traits and philosophy that are now viewed as important in leaders.

Although there’s currently little empirical evidence or research into athletic leadership in general, and even less on female leaders, and how that may manifest later a business context, Transformational Leadership (TL) has been linked to effectiveness in sports settings as it leads to increased motivation, trust, effort and satisfaction.

Transformational leaders inspire and motivate teams to achieve more than originally expected and are seen as agent of social and organisational change. They can engage team members by merging their personal goals with organisational goals by creating a shared vision, coaching, team building, being open minded and developing cultural empathy which leads to better performance. These types of leaders also perform well under dynamic conditions and are effective under challenging conditions. emale athletes are significantly more likely to fall within the high and moderate files of TL than their non-athletic peers.

Companies like EY with their Women. Fast Forward initiative did a 3-year study on the role that sport plays at every stage of a professional woman’s life and have shown that sport is a powerful way to advance women in society and that the foundations laid by sport are critical to career success. Wages of former athletes are about 7% higher than non-athletes, and the EY/espnW global study of senior women executives shows that sport is a positive determinant of leadership performance and achievement and that 94% of C-suite women played sports. Other factors developed from sport which provide an advantage in business are a strong work ethic, determination, team spirit and thriving on competition which have been noted as the biggest factors in women who reach c-suite levels careers.

The UN has also recognised the potential for sport for global development and women’s empowerment, and the International Olympic Committee are pursuing an agenda for Planet 50-50, a gender equal world by 2030 which is enabled by sport.

My experiences of captaining teams from a young age means I was in leadership roles years prior to beginning a career. The same keys to success as a captain of a sports team such as communication, honesty, respect, positivity, emotional control and building the trust and gaining respect of peers, has meant that I was unknowingly cultivating a leadership style that has transferred over to business. The resilience and determination that was required to become an elite athlete and learning to accept failure combined with critical feedback as part of everyday life, has also shaped how I approach my work and has likely fed my entrepreneurial side, as well as my passion to try and improve the sporting environment for those coming after me. The drive to learn more about the sports I played so that I could be successful has translated into a thirst for knowledge in the various industries that I’ve worked in too.

There can be the expectation that women in male dominated environments take on board the competencies that are deemed important by men to become successful. My experience is that it is important to know what these may be but to always remain true to your own values. Values are particularly important as they are triggers for behaviour and can sometimes cause you to act in a way that seems counter to them. This was a revelation for me when I discovered the link. I’ve found it’s more vital to surround yourself with the right people instead be they mentors, mentees, the people you work with and your overall network and to be willing to be uncomfortable and vulnerable so that you can grow.

If we continue to strive to be better and do better and help those around us do the same, we may not always get it right, but we can hopefully become the type of leaders that will inspire others in both business and life.

All About Leadership #48 #cong21


Words matter.  How much do you know about leadership terms.  Try this word puzzle to find them.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Words matter
  2. Think about what they mean
  3. Do you reflect any of them?
  4. See clarity through a word of seeming chaos

About Gillian Berry

I am a qualified clinical nurse specialist. Recent roles include Education, Practice Development Facilitation and Project Management. I am driven by Quality, Patient Safety and Person-Centred Care. I hold a HDip CCU Nursing, PGD Infection Prevention and Control, PGC in Clinical Trials Management (Pharmaceutical Medicine), PGC Medical Affairs (Pharmaceutical Medicine), Cert in Quality and Safety. I founded PerCen Technologies in 2019 in response to challenges that I felt were not addressed in Healthcare. They are supported by the first national HIHI call by the Health Innovation Hub Ireland. It was set up to create person centred innovative solutions to clinical unmet needs. Its aim is to use scientific knowledge and the latest technologies to compliment clinical evidence based practice. My EitHealth journey stared in 2019 where I participated in the Wildcard Hackathon in Amsterdam, followed by the digital health validator in Trinity College and IP training. I am also on the EITHealth expert panel. At the start of the Covid19 Global Pandemic I combined her 25 years healthcare and her post grad education to create a process to break the chain of infection. I co-founded OSVX Open Source Volunteers Extended. Which attracted over 1000 STEM professional volunteers, academic institutions, SME’s and Multi-National’s and facilitated 30 projects with a transfer of knowledge and skills.
I am an active member of EmpowerHer and Network Ireland where I support women peers in business and entrepreneurship. I recently won the regional Power Within Champion for my work on the Covid19 response. I am on the EITHealth Alumni as the Regional Coordinator for UK and Ireland. I aim to facilitate the continued success of the EITHealth Alumni, promote innovation and empower the members to continue their health innovation journey.

Contacting Gillian Berry

You can connect with Gillian on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter or send her an email.

By Gillian Berry

Last year I submitted on leadership entitled Leadership Qualities for a Collaborative Society 3.0

Leadership Qualities for a Collaborative Society 3.0 #58 #cong20

This year I am presenting a challenge in the form of a word search.

leadership word puzzle

  • Find the words in the puzzle.
  • Words can go in any direction.
  • Words can share letters as they cross over each other.

Leadership Word Puzzle

Remote leadership is the future

Remote Leadership is the Future #47 #cong21


Covid has made everything remote including most teamwork, Leaders need to accept that their teams are going to be distributed by default so being able to manage teams remotely will required new skills and a change in culture. To quote T.K. Whittaker – “Culture is the least worst behaviour that Leadership will tolerate”. Leaders need to ask themselves what is the least worst behaviour that the company needs to adapt the new world of remote teamwork.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Remote working is not just a covid restriction but the future of teamwork. All Leaders need to be remote-first in their thinking and communication.
  2. Remote Leadership is a skill to be learnt and is more than just having a video meeting once a week with your team.
  3. Remote teamwork will demand a new culture and user behaviour which will need to be clearly defined using a Remote-First Leadership approach where Inclusion and diversity can be the unexpected prize of a Remote-first leadership approach but this needs to be actively nurtured by leaders.
  4. Don;t fall into this trap of incessant online meeting to check on your remote worker. Less online meetings is one of the key metrics that Remote leaders should use to guide them on their Remote-first journey.

About Sean Brady

Sean Brady has been remote working for 20 years and moved their IT consultancy company (CloudAssist) to the next level in 2017 to a fully remote organisation. This move to fully remote included an absolute ‘no visit’ rule for both clients and partners following the selection as a finalist in the EU Climate Launchpad competition where we pose the question “Why do we need to meet in-person to do business?”. I speak about Climate Change and how Remote Working can significantly change our environment, economy and communities for the better. This lead to my involvement with Grow Remote which is a non-profit promoting the benefits of Remote Working to the Irish rural communities while assisting companies and employees to learn the skills of being a remote-first business.
Sean likes to speak about Climate Change and how Remote Working can significantly change our environment, economy and communities for the better. Sean also provide webinars on how Microsoft Teams is an enabler for Remote Teaming and the importance for Change Management to assist user adoption.

Contacting Sean Brady

You can connect to Sean by email.

Remote leadership is the future

By Sean Brady

Before Covid, Remote-first was a new organisational type that was considered a futurist ideal which only few pioneering companies whole-heartedly embraced. However, since Covid, this is rapidly becoming an attractive model as companies are seeing a major shift in how employees work together either fully remote or within a hybrid work environment. This will have radical change on how buildings are utilised which in turn will see a change in the traditional office hours and office design but, more importantly, on management and leadership style

A lot of companies claim to be Remote-friendly however a remote-first culture treats working remotely as the default way of working and build remote working into the heart of their business; this remote-friendly stance is to make the company seem progressive in order to attract new talent or appease existing employees however this is not a remote-first approach because the leadership approach has not changed. This change is imperative to realise the full potential of their new remote/hybrid workforce which I like to refer to as ‘Remote Leadership’.

In the past, some people may complain about their “leadership are too remote” from the day-to-day business and are not in touch with the employees however the term ‘Remote Leadership’ is the ability to connect with their employees and to nurture a culture even though their colleagues are no longer in the same building at the same time. This new paradigm requires transparent asynchronous communications where everyone can have a voice but is also connected to the drum-beat of the company and how this directly relates to their own work and their team. Leaders need to create a culture where there is virtual bonding and support networks which facilitates remote socialisation of not just your immediate team members and fosters well-being in this new world of remote. Finally, the remote leadership needs to build a culture that creates a level playing field for all which is based on openness and trust while embracing inclusivity and diversity so the company can benefit from remote working in its fullest form.
I believe that by adopting this Remote-first approach, the company can benefit from an unexpected prize of having a more connected, productive, diverse, and inclusive community of remote workers however the behaviour of the leaders will determine how much of a prize that they receive. To quote T.K. Whittaker – “Culture is the least worst behaviour that Leadership will tolerate”. Leaders need to ask themselves what is the least worst behaviour that the company needs to adapt to the new world of remote teamwork and how can they encourage and nudge this into reality.

Remote-first is a journey that a leader should take with clearly defined and measurable business goals because change is hard and this is a fundamental change demands clear leadership. Senior management who are leaders of their own departments must understand how this change will be managed throughout the business. As a leader in a fully remote company since September 2017, this has been a massive transformation, both on how our business operates using technology and people skills necessary to lead a team and build relationship with customers while never meeting them in person. Communication is more than an online meeting but having the openness for the remote worker to feel part of the team and have a voice in how decisions are being made. This is where asynchronous communication platforms are key to both productivity and connectivity of the employee. What is the point of having lots of back-to-back meetings in the name of communication when there is no time and space to create focus time to do the work.

This may sounds counter-intuitive but less online meetings is one of the metrics that we encourage leaders to measure when assisting companies with their Remote-first journey; No-one has ever said to me, “Sean the business needs more meetings and more email”; these simple metrics will guide Remote leaders to establish if the change to a remote-first organisation is being achieved while measuring the increase output from remote-first teams. If your online meetings and email is increasing, then this is a sure sign that the remote-first solutions such as Microsoft Teams is not being deployed to their fullest potential which will undermine the ultimate goal of being a true Remote leader.