How to Lead your Tribe in the Workplace

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

When I hear the word Glastonbury I think of the mud, wellies and stinky loos! However there are better positive pictures that I could bring to mind, like the colourful landscape of canvas tents, the diversity of arts that are available and the passion of the people attending. So love it or loathe it, being at this unique tribal gathering for 5 colourful days in the Somerset countryside is always interesting!

This festival of contemporary performing arts, inspired by the Hippie subculture and youth movement, has become the largest Greenfield festival in the world. When Michael Eavis hosted the first festival on the 19th September 1970, I am sure he had no idea he would be creating a tribe of approximately 175,000 people!

The colourful array of Tents at Glastonbury

The colourful array of Tents at Glastonbury

The Oxford Dictionary defines a tribe as “A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”

The largest tribe in the world is the Pashtun tribe in Afghanistan, with a population of 45 million people. Glastonbury has its own diverse tribes, as do many businesses, some might even say that Glastonbury is a business!

The research carried out by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright suggest that to create a thriving corporate culture you need strong tribes and an effective tribal leader. Richard Branson is considered an effective tribal leader so too was Steve Jobs. Their tribal culture supports the corporate culture and the results are greater strategic success, effective workplaces, less stress and more fun, a la Google!

In the book Tribal Leadership which can be purchased here it details the five stages of how to improve your tribes.

The five stages include:

• Stage One: The stage most professionals skip which we address is tribes, whose members are despairingly hostile—they may create scandals, steal from the company, or even threaten violence.

• Stage Two: changing the dominant culture for 25 percent of workplace tribes whose members who are passively antagonistic, sarcastic, and resistant to new management initiatives.

• Stage Three: Addressing the 49 percent of workplace tribes marked by knowledge hoarders who want to outwork and outthink their competitors on an individual basis. They are lone warriors who not only want to win, but need to be the best and brightest.

• Stage Four: The transition from “I’m great” to “we’re great” comes in this stage where the tribe members are excited to work together for the benefit of the entire company.

• Stage Five: Empowering the 2 percent of workplace tribal culture is in this stage, when members who have made substantial innovations seek to use their potential to make a global impact.

The true identity of a Tribe can be found in its core values; their guiding principles that dictate behaviour and actions. Here are some core values that you or your tribe may have:

  • Dependable
  • Reliable
  • Loyal
  • Committed
  • Open-minded
  • Consistent
  • Honest
  • Efficient
  • Innovative
  • Creative
  • Humorous
  • Fun-loving
  • Adventurous
  • Motivated
  • Positive
  • Optimistic
  • Inspiring
  • Passionate
  • Respectful
  • Athletic
  • Fit
  • Courageous
  • Educated
  • Respected
  • Loving
  • Nurturing
Tribel Leadership details 5 Stages how to improve your tribe

Tribel Leadership details 5 Stages how to improve your tribe

I think those attending Glastonbury 2015, on the whole, have many of the core values listed above. The 14th Dalai Lama, who is an inspirational tribal leader in his own right, took to the stage in the King’s Meadow. He wanted to share his message of “love and tolerance and fairness” He was alluding to the other kinds of tribes that use, religion, politics, hatred and weapons as their core values. That maybe another blog!

Whichever tribe you belong to, enjoy it. I am off  to get my tennis shoes on, collect my Wimbledon ticket and join my tennis tribe for a fun filled fortnight.

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Write on! Write away! Write now!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

These plays on words were inspired by a recent posting on one of the luxury retail stationery websites. I always admire articles or blogs that agree with or confirm my own beliefs.

If you are reading this in the UK, I am preaching to the choir when I extol the virtues of the written (preferably hand-written) word over e-mails, texts and tweets. Industry sources tell me that the UK ranks well ahead of its Mediterranean neighbours in letter writing and leaves its South American counterparts in the dust.

Perhaps this has something to do with the long-established and readily available postal system (Penny Post was introduced in England in 1680). However, numbers of letters being carried by Royal Mail have been declining since 2006, unsurprising given our increasing reliance on internet-based communications.

The Traditional British Post Box was first seen in Britain in 1809

The Traditional British Post Box was first seen in Britain in 1809

But there are occasions in life that require a hand-written letter. If you doubt this, consider what your own reaction would be to receiving an e-mailed condolence message, congratulations on career success in a text, or a thank you message posted on social media along with pictures of you and your other guests.

exting important news and congratulating good news just isn't the same

Text messaging important news and offering our congratulations is unfortunately becoming more common

When you really mean something and sincerely want to convey it,  (“Congratulations,” “Thank-you,” “I am so sorry”), write it down – on paper; sign it – in ink; put a stamp on it – not the postage meter; and put it in the mail.

Hand written Thank You Notes are still the most personal way of expressing our gratitude

Hand written Thank You Notes are still the most personal way of expressing our gratitude

The benefits are powerful and far-reaching but for anyone looking for the “What’s in it for me,” it will simply confirm and reinforce what everyone already knows about you – that you are a knowledgeable, socially aware, confident and considerate friend and colleague.

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The all important Dress Codes for Royal Ascot

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Royal Ascot Races is one of the most popular events of the sporting and social calendar, with an annual attendance of nearly 300,000 people.

Both the Grandstand Enclosure and the Royal Enclosure have their benefits. If you are looking for a young, fun and often raucous afternoon then consider the former perfect. With big crowds, big drinkers and even bigger heels it will not disappoint. This is the area in which I frequented for the first few years of attending and I didn’t even manage to see any races; there was far too much entertainment around the bandstand, and, coupled with the 30 minute queue for the loos the afternoon passed by before I could say ‘on the nose please’.

The Grandstand Enclosure at Royal Ascot

The Grandstand Enclosure at Royal Ascot


Fast forward a few years and I was invited to The Royal Enclosure, the moment I had been hoping for had come! And the icing on the cake is that as long as you ‘behave yourself’ you will automatically gain membership into this enclosure from the next year onwards.

The Royal Enclosure is what you would imagine an elegant day at the races to be. Beautiful pavilions in which to sip Pimms, perfectly mown lawns to parade with your partner and pre-bookable restaurants. As it happens I did manage to behave myself and so have been enjoying this area ever since, although I do often wonder which enclosure is having the most fun….


The Champagne Lawn within the Royal Enclosure

The Champagne Lawn within the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot

Both enclosures have strict Dress Codes which must be adhered to as, in theory, you can be refused entrance.

Ladies, an invaluable piece of advice is to keep your heels sensible whatever enclosure you are in. This is for three reasons:

  • You will do an awful amount of walking – Ascot Racecourse is vast
  • There are many grass areas and therefore high stiletto heels will sink in making it really difficult to walk elegantly
  • Seeing an otherwise beautifully dressed lady staggering along carrying her shoes is not a good sight


Grandstand Enclosure Dress Code

Ladies within the main Grandstand Admission area are encouraged to dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion:

  • A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times.
  • Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted.
  • Trousers must be full length and worn with a top that adheres to the guidelines above.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Shorts are not permitted.

Men are required to wear a suit with a shirt and tie (often men will wear Morning Dress in this enclosure which looks lovely).


A lady perfectly dressed for a day at Royal Ascot

A lady perfectly dressed for a day at Royal Ascot

Royal Enclosure Dress Code

  • Ladies’ dresses and skirts should be of modest length. This is defined as just falling above the knee or longer
  • Ladies’ trouser suits are acceptable and they should be of full length and of matching material and colour
  • Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.
  • Jackets and pashminas may be worn but dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code
  • Hats should be worn; however a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat. Ladies are kindly asked to note the following:
  • Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Fascinators are not permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches/10cm).
  • Gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress (grey is deemed as de rigueur) which must include:
  • A waistcoat and tie (no cravats)
  • A black or grey top hat
  • Black shoes A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Garden. The customisation of top hats (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure.
A gentleman in Morning Dress

A gentleman in Morning Dress

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All You Need to know for The Polo Season

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

The Game

Polo is divided into chukkas, either four, six or eight. Each chukka involves seven minutes of play, after which a bell is rung and play continues for either another 30 seconds or until the ball goes out of play.  A three minute break is given between each chukka and a five minute break at half time and the ends are changed after each goal is scored.

Divot etiquette is important; divots are the clods of earth that the horses’ hooves throw up, and everyone is expected to go and ‘tread in’ between matches to make the ground as smooth as possible. Sensible shoes are useful here!

Treading-in the Divots gives spectators a chance to stretch their legs and is part of the enjoyment of the day

Treading-in the Divots gives spectators a chance to stretch their legs and is part of the enjoyment of the day

A Snippet of History

Polo, or “hockey on horseback” as it was referred to in Britain at first, is probably the oldest team sport. Although the exact roots of the game are not known, it is thought it was first played by nomadic warriors over two thousand years ago, though the first recorded tournament was in 600 B.C. between the Turkomans and the Persians.

In Persia the game was played by Royalty and polo has been linked to the middle and upper classes in Britain, mainly due to the fact it was played by members of the armed forces who could afford the number of ponies need to play the game.

What to Wear

Cartier International Day at the end of July is a major fixture in the sporting calendar for the season, when everyone dresses up. However, it is not like Royal Ascot so hats are not de rigour, but a Panama or summer hat always looks very chic.

The dress code for polo today is smart casual, which means collared shirts with trousers, chinos or smart jeans for gentlemen, and dresses, skirts, trousers, smart shorts to the knee or smart jeans for ladies. Sandals are only permitted for ladies. For the Royal Box, shirts and ties, lounge suits, jackets or blazers with trousers or chinos are required for gentlemen, and dresses, skirts or tailored trousers for ladies. There is no covered seating at most events so do remember what the English weather can be like!

A young couple appropriately dressed for Cartier Polo

A young couple appropriately dressed for Cartier Polo

Polo and The Royal Family

Polo first became known in the west via British tea-planters.  In 1869, the first game in Britain was organised on Hounslow Heath by officers stationed at Aldershot, one of whom had read about the game in a magazine. The Duke of Edinburgh started following polo in the 1950s, then Prince Charles showed an interest and now Princes William and Harry are regular team players.  When meeting members of the Royal Family then the usual rules apply. Don’t speak unless spoken to, and it is courteous for British citizens to curtsey or bow

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dressed perfectly for a Polo match

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dressed perfectly for a Polo match

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Why Etiquette and Manners are Always In Vogue

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

I find that time spent poring in leisurely fashion through the vast array of ‘sections’ of a Sunday newspaper is time well spent. Sometimes one finds news in the newspaper and such a discovery can make the day truly worthwhile. All too often page turning merely reveals a headline necessitating a prompt turn to the next page and the next headline… but imagine my delight at coming across a recent article by Camilla Long of The Sunday Times.

Camilla opened by admitting “I’ve become completely obsessed with the country’s leading etiquette expert, William Hanson”. She went on to refer to him as a “human comb-over utterly consumed by napkins”, before stating that she has missed etiquette experts “so much”. She infers that there has been a time when etiquette experts have been out of vogue, when manners have neither been relevant, nor topical. She is, of course, so wrong. Well, partly wrong – my friend and colleague, William, actually does have the most spectacular comb-over.

William Hanson, Etiquette Expert and Director of Operations at The English Manner

William Hanson, Etiquette Expert and Director of Operations at The English Manner

Manners have never gone away. The method of the coaching of the skills and knowledge associated with manners might well have changed, and changed for the better, but there has always been a need for the recognition for a set of social norms in order to impose self-restraint and compromise on regular, everyday actions.

William, as a role model to both adults and children, is superb in that he lives and breathes his subject – he does it properly and takes his role very seriously indeed. Whilst he laces his guidance with buckets of often-irreverent humour and anecdotes, he firmly believes that the traditional approach, based upon passing on a knowledge assumed over generations, is necessary in order for individuals to establish how to develop their own style, their own set of rules and compromises.

William Hanson teaching children the importance of confident table manners

William Hanson teaching children the importance of confident table manners

William, along with his colleagues at The English Manner, aims to inspire confidence in his charges, allowing them to know how it has been done in the past and how it can be done right now – the teaching of manners and social etiquette has never been so popular, relevant and fun. Especially if you happen to be lucky enough to be taught by William Hanson.

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