Claire Haigh – True Strength Podcast – Episode 11

 

As part of my True Strength project, I’m featuring interviews that dig deep into how people succeed and I was delighted to interview Claire Haigh. The interview has lots of insights into how Claire succeeds, about strengths, weaknesses, mindset, and resilience. To listen to the interview, simply click ‘play’ on the audio player above or you can read the transcript below. You can find previous podcasts and details of how to subscribe on our podcast page.

 

 

Claire Haigh dominant StrengthsFinder (TM) talent themes:

  1. Strategic: People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
  2. Futuristic:  People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.
  3. Maximizer: People who are especially talented in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.
  4. Arranger: People who are especially talented in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.
  5. Activator: People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
  6. Ideation: People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  1. Communication: People who are especially talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.
  2. Positivity: People who are especially talented in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.
  3. Achiever: People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

 

Hi this is Ian Pettigrew and welcome to the Kingfisher Coaching True Strength podcast, today featuring Claire Haigh who is the co-founder of Collaborate Out Loud. Good Morning.

 

Good morning Ian, it’s great to be here with you in Media City on this beautiful sunny morning.

 

We’re sat in On the 7th in Media City so if people can hear the chinking of glasses and the coffee machine around, we’re in a very nice location today.  So, Claire, can you start off by telling us a little bit about what you do?

 

So I work with people, organizations, places helping them to explore shape and connect future collaborative public services so actually thinking about how can we create public services that are more inclusive and that really work for the people that they’re actually serving, but how do we do that in a more collaborative and connected way. So, it’s really interesting, it can be right through from one to one coaching to working with groups to helping people to do more experimental types of work.

 

So what does that actually mean in terms of what you do and what sort of areas of the public sector do you work across then?

 

It’s a strange thing that you picked up on the words public sector because I just went public services so actually I talk about how I work across all sectors that impact on public services which is really interesting so NHS, Local Government, Fire, Police and obviously you talked about Collaborate Out loud being one of the key things that I do and that’s a key way that I work and the work that we do. So that’s all around how do we bring people together in a really democratic inclusive space but the space outside of the formal to actually help to explore and shape actually what the future can look like in a really different way, but in a really kind of action focussed way so that we can kind of think okay so what is it we need to do differently and how do we try some of these ideas out?  So a lot of the work I’d say is quite exploration experimental but it’s also about helping people to have capacity, capability and confidence to try new things and do new things.

 

So let’s pick on one thing you talk about because you are the co-founder of Collaborate Out Loud and you’ve just talked about sort of why it exists.   What is it?  What does it do?  What happens?

 

So Collaborate Out Loud is something that’s kind of emerged over the last seven/eight months. I cofounded that with a colleague, Kev Wyke, and it exists and what it does is it is all about creating spaces. It’s about creating space and community and actually it’s turned into what we’ve described as a tribe, a tribe of people that are interested in how we need to think very differently about public services, how we need to actually think about what that means and then what you do. So at the moment an example of what we’re doing is we’re exploring actually how do we build trust across sectors that help innovation to flourish. So actually we find that innovation sometimes happens in small pockets in a particular professional sector but it doesn’t ever kind of spread in the way that it potentially could do. And what the group identified was trust was a real issue and actually exploring what that means. So at the moment we’ve been doing activities like using street wisdom. So Kev Wyke, who’s the other half of Collaborate Out Loud, ran a session the other day to do that. So we’re starting to think about ok, so how do we build that and how do we start to think differently.

 

So that’s what you do now. How did you end up doing that? What’s your journey been to get there?

 

So my background is public services, 10 years of working in the public sector. Started my career in local government on a graduate programme, really interesting. I don’t quite know how I ended up to there so my degree was psychology.  Done loads of gap years, several at a time, not really knowing what I wanted to do, but I always knew I wanted to do something that was about giving back and I always knew as well that I probably didn’t want to work in the commercial sector in just that commercial organisation so I ended up working in local government.  Ended up then, I kind of said by accident but probably not really when I think about it, ended up working in organisational development, transformation in a single organisation but was always a bit frustrated because I could see that actually what they were doing was part of something much bigger and it was part of sort of kind of actually it wasn’t just about the council it was part of actually working with a number of agencies so then got the opportunity to go and work regionally and I spent six/seven years at an organization called Northwest Employers doing kind of three or four different roles right through from leading a series of projects moving into then sort of partner engagement work across sectors about how do we build connections, how do we build relationships, how do we build capacity and capability across different sectors so they could start to understand each other, which then led into kind of the role I did up until last year which was their Director of Improvement, which is a really ridiculous title, but it was all around how do we just do things better and do things differently. So my background was all very much steeped in what I do now. And then last year I just took a decision that I kind of wanted more freedom to be able to scale up some ideas, some of the ways that I work and to just experiment really with some different ways of doing things. So last year I took a massive leap and I trusted in the magic of beginnings and I set up my own company so I do kind of work under my own name as a company as well and then I am part of the Collaborate Out Loud Community interest company which we’re establishing at the moment so kind of work working both spheres but the work is so connected.

 

So it’s really interesting, loads of people going through that same journey of sort of leaving jobs and setting up and there’s lots of talk about the gig economy as well. There’s a lot of false talk about the gig economy as well and I think often the impression that’s created is not always real but what’s that been like as an experience to leave a job and do something really different?

 

Amazing!  And it’s really interesting, I’m not saying there haven’t been times I’ve sat there and thought “OMG what have I done?” or “this is really quite scary” but it wasn’t scary in a bad way, it was like, actually I’ve got such an opportunity to do things differently here, to get more balance for myself personally but also to share some of the ideas that I had but also work with kind of different people in very different ways. And I think it’s just been kind of exciting and there have been times where it has, and if I’m really honest, it’s felt like overwhelming that it’s so much has happened so fast, but then I think actually Claire you’ve put so much into that and I feel like really proud almost that where I’ve come from in such a short space of time but I’ve worked so hard at that. So it’s been exciting, amazing and hard hard work.

 

And I’ve seen you on that journey and you’ve done really really well.  What’s made it work? Why have you had such an easy transition?  I know you’ve worked really hard but you have done a great job of getting established really quickly. What made it so?

 

I think there’s a number of things for me.  I have had amazing support from an amazing group of people, people that I’ve known for many years, family and friends and my husband but also some people that I worked with and some people that I only met last year, include yourself in that Ian!  People like Julia Wolfendale and Kev Wyke and Becky Martin. There’s so many people that are generous and supportive and they believed in me as well. And that really really helped having that support. But also I think the fact that I’m sort of a natural person that likes to kind of connect to people and understand people, be with people, so I think actually having a massive kind of network of connections, people that understood me and what I was about actually I found that kind of easy to re-connect as me, not as kind of previous life, it that makes sense?  And it was really nice because people were interested in what I could kind of do with and offer them as me so that was kind of nice but I think that was because I had worked so hard over 10 years to build this kind of network of people that were just kind of amazing, diverse and inclusive and there were people from right across the sectors in that as well so I think those two things, support and that network were key to me and also having a clear idea of probably what I wanted to do.  I think I knew that I wanted to do something that was around actually we can do things very differently in public services and I had some ideas of how I wanted to do that. So having that kind of clear idea was really important for me as well.

 

For what it’s worth, my observation of you knowing you along that journey is there were two things I think. One is that you had a really clear focus whereas a lot of people that join the gig economy sort of shrug their shoulders and say “I’m going to do kind of stuff” and are really vague about it whereas you were really focussed and specific.  But the other thing is that you’ve got a really good network as well and you have, as you mentioned, you know lots of people, you’re well known in the sector in which you operate and you’ve got that strong network and that real sort of attitude of collaboration.

 

It’s really interesting you mention the thing about knowing my focus because I remember we had a coffee together about two days after I finished and I said to you I was on the train the day before and it just came to me in my head about what I’m all about and you said “what is it?” and I said it’s about exploring, shaping and connecting future public services. And it just, when I stopped thinking about it, it came for me and I think I always knew because for me there was that public service element but for me there was that whole kind of thing about how to explore what that looks like, shape that to make it happen but do that in a connected way and it’s really interesting you say that and I think that’s driven me through this whole sort of seven/eight month period.

 

And it’s funny, so you worked that out what two days into your journey? I think I worked that out two years into my journey so it took me a little bit longer, but that knowing what you really stand for and what it is you’re going to do makes a huge difference.

 

I think it’s because though I think in my head my journey has started much earlier but that was the physical definition of when it officially started.

 

So let’s dig a bit deeper into you and what makes you tick. So you’ve taken Gallup Strengthsfinder or Clifton Strengths as we sometimes call it, and we’ve been diving in to what are your dominant talents as well as looking at your lesser talents as well and talking about strengths and weaknesses and de-railers.  So when you look at your dominant talents which is kind of your tool box for how you succeed at stuff, what have been your impressions, what did you think about when we talked through this report?

 

It made a lot of sense to me and when you went through them, so like Strategy is my number one isn’t it, top strength, it actually makes so much sense to me when you describe that as actually this is about how you make sense of things. And it fits so much with kind of the way that I work and I think we were talking before about how I do seem to have this ability to be able to see lots of stuff and just cut through that and sort of make sense of what it means. And actually that’s not necessarily how you think about strategy but actually it’s quite a different way which I really liked that, I thought it was really good. And then the stuff around being future focussed, I think that links back to the conversation we just had about knowing where I’m going as well and having that real sense of actually it could be really different we could do things really differently, that really struck me because it is just so me and how I am really and it’s not that I don’t think it’s important where you’ve come from, but for me it’s about how do we move forward, continue to evolve and develop. So yeah they stood out for me.  Maximiser was really interesting when we were talking about that as well about how you actually maximize everything that you because that makes so much sense to me. And I think I do really try to do that in my work because I don’t like wastage and I like things to be maximized to their potential so how do we help people to maximize what they or what everyone has to offer because that’s how we get things done.

 

So look let’s just talk about what it’s like to be you. So I’ll include your dominant talents in the show notes but we’ve got Strategic, so this ability to sort of spot the patterns and make sense of things. Futuristic, inspired by how things could be in the future. Maximizer, wants to make the most of everything. Arranger, does what it says on the tin.  Activator, impatient wants to get started with things.

 

I purposely didn’t mention that one!

 

I know!  I’d have bet money on that one!  You do, you just immediately get started with stuff so I can see that in you.  Ideation, really good at ideas and coming up with new ideas.  Communication, articulate, good at telling your story, a good presenter and communicator.  Positivity, one of the many of these that you and I have in common. So does what it says on the tin, glass half full, and Achiever, really sort of driven as well so it’s a really interesting set of talents that I can see in you.  Which of those are you proudest of? Which of those were you most pleased to see on the report?

 

I think the Future and the Strategy are really important to me because that makes so much sense to me and actually when I look at what it means by being strategic, some people have said to me for a while about my ability to make sense of things and that just comes really naturally to me and I enjoy doing that as well so I was really pleased that that was up there and that was good but also the Achiever because I think that’s really important to me to feel like I make an impact and am achieving something. And it’s really interesting so even right back if you go into sort of education, when you’re in that system you want to achieve through that but actually it wasn’t necessarily that, yeah it’s really interesting, I’ve always had a sense of whether it’s been sport or in school or is being a university or anything, I’ve always wanted to do well for myself it that makes sense?

 

It does and as we were looking through Competition is really low for you, it’s one of your lesser talents, it’s not a driver and people often get those confused don’t they? It was really interesting to talk about Park Run and things. It’s really obvious that when you compete you’re competing against yourself, you know you’re driven to succeed which is a classic Achiever and it’s not competition that’s driving you.

 

Yeah exactly and that’s really interesting for me in terms of kind of how I work and why I do things, though I was talking before to you wasn’t I about the example of when I do park run actually, it’s great to get my time so I can look at improving that or feel better when I finish in the same time, but then I got into this thing the other day and there was somebody there who kept passing me and I kept passing her and I thought, “actually I don’t need to or want to try and beat you”, it’s about actually doing this for myself.  So that is fundamental to how I work and what I do actually, which I like.  I think competition for me, it’s not something that helps me get things done.

 

And this is one of the reasons I love Strengths. My entire focus is about helping leaders get the best out of themselves and others, and when it comes to getting the best out of others, that means we need to help people to be motivated and if somebody is high in Achiever or Competition, they can assume that other people need competition, that they need the same thing as them, whereas you need motivating in your unique way. You know there’s a certain set of things that motivate you.

 

And competition is really interesting because in the work I do, so a lot of it’s around collaboration across boundaries.  Actually competition I see all the time getting in the way because people feel like, from an organizational perspectives, not just individual perspectives, they need to compete against the people they’re trying to achieve something for a place with so it’s quite an interesting thing to try and explore for me.

 

Can we dig into that for a minute then because I think you’ve just been really judgemental!  So, you’re giving me a shocked look now.  So that’s the sort of thing that somebody who’s really low in competition would say.

 

OK!

 

You look and say competition gets in the way. So can I put that back to you in a different way? You’re working with people in different organizations, some of whom will be naturally high in competition. They’ve been like that since they were children. So for you to say competition is bad doesn’t really help them because they’ve got a talent, so can we just turn it round for a second. How can they use what they’ve got to help to drive collaboration?

 

That’s it. Yeah and I absolutely get what you are saying and I think that’s absolutely the point so how can that be utilized in a way that’s kind of positively focused rather than kind of putting themselves up against maybe another part of the system that actually doesn’t help us to achieve so there is a real benefit. It can be beneficial.

 

Yeah in fact it’s interesting, one of the previous podcast guests was Gary Cookson which is the person that introduced us to each other a little while ago and Gary is naturally competitive and it’s just one of the things that drives him and makes it tick, so yeah one of things I’m really keen to do is to help us make the most of everybody’s talents. So competition can be harnessed and used differently.  We can help people drive to have the best collaboration for instance and the best public services across different organizations.

 

Exactly, absolutely and I couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t agree more. And actually if that’s a strength somebody has, then how do we utilise that?

 

So let’s dig a bit below your strengths.  We’ve looked at your dominant talents, we’ve looked at the things that are always you, that drive you to succeed in every area of your life. When we dig below that we get into your supporting talents and the way that we talked about that, that I described it was these are the things that are sometimes you.  And it was interesting because you could point to almost every one of them and say “I am like that at work” or “I’m like that at home” or “I’m like that in this different situation”. So the talents that are your talents that you can draw upon, but you typically choose to use them in different situations.  So can you talk about Command?

 

So people who are high in Command will often say I need to be in charge, I need to be the boss. Often people that I work with that are high in Command run their own business because they don’t want to be a deputy anywhere so Command is one of your supporting talents so where does Command show up for you?

 

Strange things really, I think more in my home life.  Perhaps you should interview my husband and ask him what he thinks about that!  Loads of people that know me will be laughing right now!  Yes I can feel that I probably do that more kind of outside of work but equally I was talking about this before. So I obviously have left working in an organization to work for myself and my reflection on that is I did struggle I think so I was a director in an organization and I had an amazing boss. But I think I found it really difficult because I was that second in command I think and if you put that alongside some of my Future Focussed and Strategic strengths and combining it with that I think I actually I did really want to be able to shape and be able to kind of make something happen in my way if that makes sense?

 

So which of your talents get you into trouble?

 

Talents, not the things at the bottom?

 

Yeah absolutely and I ask that deliberately because sometimes the default position is when people think about weaknesses they always think about, these are the things that we are not naturally good at. And that’s different you know, in Gallup language we would call that lesser talents because you’re really driven for different reasons, you don’t want to be competitive so it’s a lesser talent that you’re happy with.  Weaknesses can be our stronger strengths.  They can be our dominant talents that also sometimes have a downside.

So are there any of your strengths, your dominant talents, that can be weaknesses?

 

I think being Futuristic, looking to the future is quite interesting for me and again we started to explore this before and I can really relate to what you said to me. So actually I am so far ahead in my thinking sometimes about what I think we could do to make sense of things, that I guess it’s a number of them together actually and then that impatience and wanting to get things done and kind of I think sometimes it’s about making sure I take people with me and making sure that we’re all on this journey together and not feeling that frustration like “why do they not get where we are?”, I’ve been here like ages. That can get me in trouble and it’s about just stepping back and thinking okay so this is where we do need to get to and it’s about actually how can I then work to help people see how they’re part of that and how that fits for them as well.

 

So yeah that’s the conversation we were having earlier that I could see how somebody who’s high in Futuristic, Strategic, Ideation, Maximizer, and Activator would be really quick at imagining the future, imagining all the ways that we could get there and would want to start on that journey and it’s almost like jumping to the answer without showing your workings out. So I could see how with other people you would sort of look at a situation and go “Yeah, it’s 42.5” and other people maybe need to know the workings out and understand a little bit of how you’ve actually got to that.

 

I’m sat here smiling as the way you’ve just described that then is so true and I have these conversations with my husband all the time and he’s like “how have you got from that to that in that space of time?” and he’s probably the complete opposite of me so actually that’s taught me quite a lot actually to have those kind of conversations in quite a different way with somebody who you have complete trust with and you can kind of be more open. So it’s really interesting that you talk about it like that. And also just in terms of I work collaboratively with lots of people whether that’s in my projects or with the people I’m delivering the project with, and actually quite often I’ll present something and say ok this is where we are at and we have this conversation as to what led up to that and sometimes I do struggle to explain that, it that makes sense because it’s just come.  I’ve done a process but I don’t quite often know what I’ve done.  Does that make sense?

 

Yes absolutely.

 

So then people ask me to explain and then I feel like I struggle and then I think ok is that really where we should be but I’m confident it is but then it’s like when people ask me to explain, that’s really difficult.

 

So we talked about Myers Briggs a little bit, what’s your Myers Briggs type?

 

ENFP

 

And how have you found Strengthsfinder as a way of sense making of you and why you do what you do?

 

I think it’s much more kind of nuanced which I think is really important and it’s really helped me actually think about things.  As I think Myers Briggs, I can relate to that profile whereas this feels like more me if that makes sense because it’s helping me to think about, ok there are things that are my lesser strengths but it’s not about putting me in a box, it’s about this is you as whole, would that make sense?  I like that.

 

Can I pick on one talent theme in particular, Achiever, which is one of your dominant talents, so it’s part of your toolbox, it’s how you succeed at stuff. When I’ve worked with people who are high in Achiever they’re really driven.  They’re driven to succeed every day because they need to have that sense of achieving and making a difference and making that impact. How does that show up for you and when does that serve you well and when does that not work as well for you?

 

I think achievement for me is just so fundamental to what I do, I have to feel that I make an impact and that what I’m doing is making a difference.  So in my work every day, almost I think subconsciously but almost consciously I sit and think so what have I done today, what have I achieved today. So I think you made the really good point about the next day almost resets and you have to do it. Yes it is really interesting for me about the Achiever part.  It is definitely something that I have to feel like happens on a regular basis so it’s not that actually I can achieve something today and that will sustain me for quite a while, I have to feel that I’m constantly achieving and I talked to you before about something really interesting.  So, for me last year before I made my leap to do what I’m doing now, I guess I didn’t feel, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t, but I didn’t feel like I was achieving at a level I wanted to do in my previous position and actually we had a really interesting conversation and you know, that was so enlightening for me. So there was a period last year from January to September where, it’s really interesting, because I achieved some things, some things I’d  actually really struggled to achieve for a while, just really personal things, but like I wanted to kind of lose a big chunk of weight for ages and last year I actually did it and then like we’ve been trying to get our house sorted for ages and we did it and we did it all quite quickly and in quite an intense way. It was really interesting, reflecting back on that now, I thought it was just because I was kind of stressed and not really happy but actually I think it was this Achiever strength, actually I needed to feed that achievement for a different source so it was really interesting. And actually that helps me going forward in terms of how can I think about it quite differently when I want to do those things again in the future because discipline is not one of my strengths, actually Achiever can counteract that which is brilliant.

 

And it was interesting you had one of those light bulb moments didn’t you when we were talking about that which I always love to see and our conversation was around you’ve got this talent you need to be achieving. You need to be seeing the fruits of your labours and seeing the impact and in a period in which work wasn’t delivering that in the way that you wanted, you actually switched to some other parts of your life and really increased the focus on that so that you could feed that talent, you could keep on using it.

 

And that’s why I took up running as well which is something I’ve never done before so I started running from not being literally to be able to run for a minute, to be able to do 10K now so it’s really interesting isn’t it how you can do that but they are things that I want to continue to do and so it’s interesting that really helps me to do that.

 

So can we move on from talents to talk a bit about mindsets and about how you think? What goes on in your head?  What’s it like to be Claire?  Nice deep question!

 

Yeah, nice deep question!  I think my head’s really busy a lot of the time.  It is full of stuff, whether it’s we could do this, we could do that.  It’s full of ideas, there’s lots of stuff going on, there’s lots of noise in my head but then that kind of comes out as people will know.  But, oh, it’s a really hard question!  It’s busy but I think it’s quite a positive and happy kind of mindset as well and I like that and we all have times when we’re not in that space but my natural mindset disposition is to kind of actually really believe that we can do things and really kind of work hard to do that. So I’d say that being me, yeah, busy is the word that comes to mind that I keep coming back to when I’m thinking through that question.

 

Well, somebody who is high in Strategic, Futuristic, Ideation and Positivity. So I’d expect your mind to be pretty busy and with loads of positive stuff as well. So let’s talk about resilience for a minute and wellbeing.  How do you switch off?

 

Running is something that last year I started to do and that for me is massive and actually there was a period over the winter when I couldn’t do it because it was really bad weather and I have really started to get back into it over the last three or four months and the difference is unbelievable. When I run, like sometimes I do think through something but it’s in a very different way or I just switch off.  So I think that’s really important to have that and it’s actually about just physically doing something that’s quite challenging at the same time just stops me kind of thinking about all the other stuff. Holidays and travel are really important to me. So we do kind of go on holiday 3 or 4 times a year for small breaks but that’s my reviving time.  It’s the time where I try and switch off and I still do Twitter and look at my emails a little bit and stuff but I don’t work at the pace that I work at most of the time so I almost build that in.  And I love just having that time to just go somewhere completely different and see something completely different so it’s almost like you’re immersing yourself in something different but it’s a break and it’s a change of scenery which is really good.  So that’s kind of things that I do.

 

What else, how do you still your mind?

 

I do struggle with that if I’m being really honest and I was talking to someone about this the other day.  I’m trying to get better at that and it’s really interesting, something that’s being going through my head at the moment, I’ve done some mindfulness stuff in the past, really interesting, really liked it, but actually I’m thinking about exploring things like yoga and stuff because I do think there’s actually a lot of benefits in those types of approaches to help us to be able to actually be our best self because I used to think, the more hours I do, the more time I put in, the more I’ll achieve and I’ve learned that is absolutely not the case.  We talked before about my profile, you have to be careful that you don’t get to that point where you burn yourself out and it’s really important.  That’s why holidays, that’s why running for me and that’s why actually looking at what else do I need to do.  Because when you work for yourself as well, and it’s just you doing things, actually that can be even harder to balance but I’ve been trying to work quite hard on that and be really conscious of it I guess.

 

It’s really important for me when I’m Strengths coaching that I don’t use a Strengths profile to assume that I’m the expert and that I can give somebody insights into that.  Instead it’s hopefully a humble, gentle guide through helping somebody make sense of themselves.  But when I looked at your Strengthsfinder profile, one of my kind of spidey senses, my hunches was hang on, real focus on the future and possibilities, real positivity about the ability to get there and a real impatience to get started with stuff and a real dislike of wasted opportunities and this need to achieve and make a difference.  You could be really driven and my question, hypothesis, my thought was where does that balance come from, where does that counter balance that says ”now it’s time to chill out?”

 

Yeah, my sister says that to me all the time, “Claire, could you just sit and not do?”.  I really do struggle with that and it’s really interesting we’re having this conversation at this time because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot at the moment so it’s really fascinating and I don’t necessarily have the answer to that but I know it’s important because I know there’s a point where actually there’s so much going on and I want to make it all happen and I want to really help public services to do things really differently, but that the same time you have to make sure, you can’t do that it you’re not at your best or you’re not looking after yourself and I think wellbeing is so important and I love the stuff at the moment that’s going on at the moment around having conversations around mental health and being really open about that because we all have mental health and we have physical health and we need to look after that and we need to be more open about that actually.  And mental health doesn’t mean that you’ve got a mental health condition, it’s about your everyday mental wellbeing and health and it’s been fascinating all the stuff that’s come out through the marathon and the Heads Together stuff that’s been done by the Royals and I just think those sort of conversations are really important and it’s got me thinking that actually I need to make sure that we all and for myself that we don’t get so busy and so caught up in doing all this stuff and achieving that that means that we don’t have the time we need for ourselves.

 

So I’m going to resist the temptation to coach you live on a podcast but..

 

You can if you want, it’s fine!

All I would say is that it’s easy to look at that kind of thing and say right, you are who you are, you’re driven, you’re focused on the future and you’re really positive and it would be easy to think that’s a weakness, what do I do about it?  Whereas my encouragement to you would be to look at your dominant talents and say, how can you use your strengths to get that counter balance?  So how can you focus on downtime?  And also, you’ve got a whole host of supporting talents, you’ve got that second tray of your toolkit, you’ve got a load of things that you use in some areas of your life and what you can do is be more resourceful and choose to use those a little bit more as well.  So I’m not going to dig into that now but getting that balance, there’s loads of things you’ve got that you can really use. 

 

Can I ask you to reflect now, big picture?  What do you wish you’d known when you were younger?  What would you say to your younger self, what have been your huge learnings?

 

It’s really interesting and it’s something I was talking about at the Collaborate Out Loud on Wednesday.  Actually sometimes we need to slow down to speed up.  My old manager used to say that to me and if you look at my Strengths actually they all make pace, they all lend themselves to pace but sometimes pace isn’t what we need.  We do need that space and that time so definitely that – slow down to speed up is really something that I’m really starting to appreciate more.  Which links to what I was saying before about how do I also slow my brain down and me down as well.  I said to you before, and thank you for asking me to do this, because I think hopefully, as well as people getting some sort of insight into how I work, I think this is a really great opportunity and brilliant timing for me in terms of where I’m at as well.

 

It’s a real pleasure.  You know that I care about making this impact and part of the reason for doing the podcast is just to help tell people’s authentic stories because I think often when it comes to success, it’s kind of the inauthentic stories that get peddled where we rationalise our journey and say, Think Big, shoot for the stars, work hard and we don’t tell the full story and then the other thing where I think we’re inauthentic is that we assume that the way one person succeeds is the way everybody succeeds and we’re not, we’re fundamentally different so part of this is just about helping people to hear different people’s journeys, to hear how different people are and through doing that, just to open their eyes to how do I get the best out of myself and how do I get the best out of other people?

 

And it’s really interesting you mentioned difference there, that’s something that I think is really important, that we are brave, we expose ourselves to different experiences, different people, because I think that we can quite often get into a circle of people that are kind of similar.  Even on social media and stuff, you can be having conversations in the same groups and I think there is something around actually how do we connect across unusual boundaries and really embrace difference because that’s where we’ll get the innovation and the difference and the change from.  And I guess that’s fundamental to a lot of what I do which is again quite interesting because it’s a way of articulating my work so yes, thank you – another revelation!

 

And it’s a pleasure I know because from a Strengths perspective people often assume that we all need to be well-rounded and we don’t.  Teams need to be well rounded, they need to have diversity and be inclusive but as people, we are all decidedly wonky, we’ve got some things we’re good at and some things we’re bad at and it’s about harnessing that and making the most of who we are and then surrounding ourselves with people, not that are the same and think the same way, but with people who are different and who provide that counter-balance.  So where can people find you online, how can people connect with you to find out more about you?

 

So I’m quite a big twitterer so my Twitter handle is @haighclaire and LinkedIn, then kind of key things that I use, I do have a website but I don’t really use that very much at the moment, so more Twitter really.

 

Brilliant, so just to say, Claire Haigh, thank you so much for spending time today.

 

Thank you Ian, thank you very much.

 

 

(Music courtesy of the very talented Isaac Indiana)