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Guy Sigley: Whose idea was this?

23 July 2012 By Guy Sigley

Guy Sigley
Guy Sigley

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Guy Sigley is a participant in the July/ August Igniting Leadership Program. Below Guy reflects on Day One of the program.

Chocolate brownies. Raspberry muffins. Dozing peacefully behind glasses with painted-on eyes (Homer Simpson style). That’s what professional training courses are supposed to be about.

So why am I sitting on the tram at eight o’clock in the morning completing my homework for the Igniting Leadership course? Why aren’t I drifting lazily through the pre-9am rush knowing I have another day of kicking back ahead of me?

This disturbing trend started very early on day one of the five-day program. Our facilitator, Louise Thomson, exhibited, from the beginning, alarmingly high energy levels. It was clear she wasn’t in this for a leisurely day at Old Treasury.

Then, in what can only be described as a supernatural phenomenon, Rich Gilmore took to the floor and stirred within the group a previously undiscovered passion for mangroves. Yes, you read correctly, mangroves. The power of a good leader, right?

Lunch was scandalously short at 35 minutes, though the chicken sandwiches were top notch – at least they got something right – before Janenne Willis inspired the room with her principles of strength-based leadership. Imagine that – working to you strengths instead of trying to be everything to everyone. Revolutionary, we thought. Pretty straightforward, Janenne said.

It was late in the afternoon before we were finally going to be given a chance to slack off. The upcoming 45-minute session was about The Crucible. I hadn’t seen the film (starring Winona Ryder) or the play (by Arthur Miller) so I knew I was in for some me-time with the shades of my eyes drawn tight.

Until the shocking truth was revealed.

I had inadvertently climbed the “Ladder of Inference” ( a whole other story) and was about to be knocked down a rung or two. ‘Form into your buddy groups and talk about the most challenging, high pressure moment in your work-life that saw you emerge as a better person on the other side,’ Louise instructed.

‘But I’m here for the muffins!’

My protest fell on deaf ears and I was suddenly having a heart-to-heart with a bloke I’d never met. Thankfully, he was a lovely bloke I’d never met.

Day one wrapped. Much learned. Much more to discover.

Guy Sigley is Communications Program Manager for WorkSafe Victoria. Guy’s role involves leading a team of advisors to deliver strategic communications activities to support WorkSafe's objectives.  Guy is also a published novelist, having written One Man’s Journey, published in 1994.