One of the Ingenuity Network’s main aims is to make University of Nottingham research accessible to the local business community, so we are always delighted to find new University academics willing to share their research with our audience. Today, we were pleased to welcome new speaker Dr John Marks, Associate Professor in French and Francophone Studies to kick off the morning’s breakfast event on ‘Empowering Yourself and Others at Work’. Complementing John’s talk was a presentation from Kris Plumley, MD of ClearFirst Services Ltd, sharing his own insights into this subject.
John shared his critique of the resilience agenda – resilience being “the capacity to remain flexible in our thoughts, feelings and behaviours when faced by a life disruption or pressure”. John reflected on how resilience is perceived by society to be of increasing importance in terms of psychological and emotional engagement in life and work. Gallup estimated in 2013 that unhappiness costs the US economy $500 billion a year in lost productivity, so it is clearly a pertinent issue.
John highlighted why employers’ expectations that their staff should simply become more resilient can be problematic and can actually leave staff feeling disempowered. He suggested that employers should not be afraid to allow staff to talk freely about their work and that in fact creating more of a dialogue about work can help people to feel more empowered.
Kris Plumley then took the floor to outline his background, having left school with no qualifications but having now successfully built a business over some 20 years. Kris talked about the importance of empowering yourself first, then others. He shared how the labels we place on ourselves and others can be disempowering and that we should avoid this in favour of getting to know ourselves and what is truly important to us as individuals – our own personal vision statement, if you will. Kris suggested that marrying this personal vision with your business vision is of utmost importance, or you may find yourself achieving business success with little happiness or satisfaction. He shared how he has tried to build a culture in his own business where people feel their work has meaning and each employee is of equal value, including Kris himself.
Delegates praised the session for the ‘thought provoking topics’ and ‘a number of thoughts that were worthy of actions’. Our next breakfast event will take place on Tuesday 5th June, when we will be exploring ‘The Power Of Pictures’ in business communication. Don’t miss out, sign up here!