All Posts by Margaret

About the Author

As the Marketing and Customer Success Coordinator at JumpShift my role is an exciting blend of working with clients and the JumpShift team to stay relevant in a world that is constantly changing. Outside of work I'm big on travelling and anything outdoors, in particular, I love hiking.

May 27

A.I, Coaching and Chess

By Margaret

One of the best grand chess masters of all time is Garry Kasparov. Grand chess masters hone their skills with tens of thousands of hours of deliberate practice. They learn to “see” patterns and future move’s almost instantly. 

This practice is as important as chess is complex.  After 4 moves there are 288 billion positions that can arise!  Yep! However, unlike much of the natural world and interactions with other people it is a finite domain – despite the vast numbers, you can count all of the possible positions. I can’t count the possible outcomes of one short interaction with another human (or even a bunny rabbit for that manner) but I can count the possible moves in chess.

Given this finite complexity, computer scientists saw chess as the ultimate testing ground for “intelligent” machines. Could a computer beat a grand chess master? For years the answer was, “not even close”. Humans ruled hands down.

Then in 1996 the IBM supercomputer ‘Deep Blue’ and Kasparov duelled for 6 games. Kasparov won, but it was close. The next year they rematched and Deep Blue won. Since then it’s been one way traffic. Was this the Terminator turning point? The end of humans and the rise of machines?

Not quite. Kasparov had an insight – What about tournaments between humans paired with computers? Take a “good” chess player (not a grand master) and pair them with a super computer and what happens? they destroy everyone. Grand Masters, Deep Blue, the lot.

It’s yet another example of the power of AND. Human’s can strategise and “imagine” what might be a good move. The computer can run the numbers and tell you if it will be. It’s using the best of humans and machines.  

I share this as a story of hope and opportunity. Chess is complex but unlike most of the world we live in it is still a constrained and finite problem space.  Therefore, chess is a simple, not a wicked, problem to solve.  Even in this domain computers still don’t fully rule (I think they will soon). Funnily enough, thanks to human technologies just about all the worthwhile problems we as humans face are wicked (almost unendingly complex), not simple.

So the opportunity for most of the world, and certainly leadership development and coaching for quite some time is humans plus machines.  Let the human coaches and facilitators do what only they can do, such as, the deep insightful, caring and connecting work. Combine this with what computers can do well, such as connecting insights from vast databases, staying with people (in a pocket or on a wrist), and providing space for private reflection. We can vastly improve the accessibility and impact of leadership development, leading to a more conscious society that ironically will stay ahead of machines and AI for longer! Cyborg coaching?

We are at the start line and out of the blocks – what next ideas or future do you see to more effectively leverage human machine pairings?Carl
If you’d like to read some more from JumpShift, you might enjoy: 
Diversity in Counsel, Unity in Command
What Leadership Coaching is All About
The Development Triggers for Leaders
Blending Synchronous and Asynchronous Leadership Development Experiences
Apr 08

On Diversity in Counsel, Unity in Command

By Margaret

Agile is a bit of a buzz word in business at the moment. How many of us have; been in a cross functional sprint team, had a ‘retro’, or planned to ‘iterate’ an idea in the last year? I am a fan. However I’m also a BIG believer in us doing our own learning. Taking the principles of Agile and making our own versions of this. Here is a window into some of my own learnings hot off the press this week.

1) ‘Diversity in counsel unity in command (execution)’ – Cyrus the Great

Cross functional sprint teams are great for making sense of opportunity and what is required to make it work. We quickly build relationships, understood scope and potential and created energy. This is all vital for eventual execution of what is created. Remote Cross-functional sprint teams can sometimes struggle to execute and create as the work of everyones ‘day jobs’ wins, and after a while meetings are 50% about why last meetings actions didn’t get done.

2) Blitzing works
When execution is required blitz sessions work. Longer meetings that are more like workshops where the work is done, not talked about 

3) Reflecting and pivoting is critical
Regular meetings and cadence help build momentum. However they also build inertia – the team can stay in place and continue the meeting, long after the benefit is extracted. Plan to pause, reflect and have the courage to adjust how the sprint team is meeting and functioning as progress is made

4) Creating and ‘owning’ product is a thing, it’s not an add on to our other work
Innovative offerings need investment, deep care and ownership to not just be an increment on what is already done
It is very very hard to do this around another jobs. Ideas and input are important but are also cheap and easy for others to give. Creation and execution need a home, a day job.These are raw reflections. I’d love you to build on these reflections within your own teams. How can you learn together and shine a spotlight on what works for you and your team and tweak what doesn’t.


If you’d like to read some more from JumpShift, you might enjoy: 

Mar 27

Remote Work and Navigating Your New Normal

By Margaret

Tools and Tips from the JumpShift Team on Remote Work

Kia Ora,

We do hope that you, your family and your people are well and staying safe during these unprecedented and uncertain times. As remote work is now a new reality for many of us and is sure to come with it’s own challenges but hopefully many successes too!

To help in easing this transition, we thought we could do our bit by sharing the top things we do to stay productive and aligned together as a team that has been remote working from day one. 

We’re sparsely spread across the world from New Zealand to Pune to a number of States in the US, and yet we have a tight, productive, remote work culture. There’s been an awesome spirit of sharing and connecting over the last couple of weeks and as such we want to share with you some of what we have learnt in our journey and are still learning now. Hopefully it’ll stimulate you in sharing what you are also learning to create an explosion of positive innovation during a challenging time!

Kia Kaha,
The JumpShift Team

Don McVeigh:

1. In times of unprecedented uncertainty I firstly make sure that I am grounded and present at all times. For me that means making sure I have connected with my immediate family, knowing they are OK and set for the day. This helps me to ensure the risk to them is minimised or I can mitigate any concerns I may have.
I then set my plan for the day, what can I influence, how can I support my team the best.This helps me prioritise immediately and focus on things that are within my control.

2. As a leader doing remote work you have to develop and identify ways that you can connect in with your team regularly and be able to read the unsaid (or seen) need of the team. This is important as you don’t get the normal queues from meeting a person ie: looked stressed, flustered, angry, frustrated, tired, sad etc.

3. To keep positive and motivated I set small goals throughout the day – mainly around who I can influence / support, and how I can add the most value. I’m always thinking of how we can innovate and accelerate our ability to deal with unknown situations. This requires us to think of potential implications or outcomes and how we could plan contingencies – being prepared for likely outcomes helps us see them earlier and make informed and calm decisions when they happen.

Mark Watkins:

1. Clarify your work space and time. It will be difficult at first to merge both together when working from home. Set boundaries with a dedicated routine and workspace which will help make this transition easier for remote work. It’s also a great opportunity to up-skill, re-skill, write that book you’ve been meaning to get to or learn about social media! Re-purpose yourself.

2. Swap out the work commute for exercise. Calculate on average how much time you save in travel time each day and allocate it to something you love doing or is a recharge time for you – a walk in nature, exercise, meditation, reading, family time are all great ways to boost your mental health. Check out this tool, manage your energy not your time. 

Jimmy Burroughes:

1. Over-communicate! Use texts, group chats, shared docs, whatever it takes. At JumpShift we use a shared Whatsapp group to check in daily and let each other know how we are feeling on a 1-10 scale. It helps us all see who needs support and who is quiet each day.

2. Agree on a “remote work charter” with your team. This can include things like: core working hours, when people are expected to be online or available, how you need to be dressed for internal / external meetings or how you should communicate vacation or sick days. Holding a weekly “virtual social” from wherever people might be based, allows you all to socialise and stay connected. A virtual equivalent of sharing lunch or Friday drinks! 

3. Build in breaks around your work. Your brain needs recovery time too. Think about the time you would spend moving between meetings or commuting – you can repurpose this time into making your life run more efficiently by building “recovery time” around your tasks. I use a 50+5+5 method – 50 mins work, 5 mins of movement/refilling water bottle and then 5 minutes to plan my next task. 

Wanda Baldock:

1. Play with what’s in front of you. It’s too easy to obsess over the future and try to plan for every eventuality. I’ve had to check myself into staying in the present, focusing on what matters most right now and what can I control. From this I’ve been rewarded with noticing beautiful moments that I’m grateful for with my family, co-workers and dogs. This really helps with resilience and a healthy mindset.

2. Love human connection. This week I experienced the highest turnout we’ve seen in a while on our weekly call with the team. I was reminded again of the value in maintaining our team connection and that social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. It was less about work and more about how we are doing as people. We shared our ideas and thought about how we can help the world during this hard time. We even managed some humour. I really felt connected to people who were at home all around NZ. Take this time to learn more about your team and what they value most. 

Anna Wilson:

Have a basic daily schedule to follow. Put an approximate time on activities with the kids and ask them what they’d like to do. Make the most of the opportunity to have quality family time. Make it fun. Without being morbid I like to pretend these are the last weeks I have with my family – it’s amazing how much you appreciate them and how much love you can feel.

2. Keep each other in check. We found it was easy to have a short temper with kids after a few days so we have a code word we use when we hear our partner over reacting or being unreasonable. It’s a great way to remind us to be calm and kind and that we’re all in this together. Also give each other a break. Take turns to get out and walk around the block, clear your head. 

3. We haven’t done this yet but intend to organise a virtual games night with friends. Find ways to connect socially and still have a laugh. 

Tim Winstone:

In August 2018, we were luck to have Melissa Crawford as a guest speaker at the Leadership Action Network. Her message to us all was about the power of Kindness, especially in times of uncertainty. Kindness is something that we can give to others for free, and it benefits them, and us (the giver).

It has huge power to lift people’s spirits and build a strong culture and community. Doing random acts of kindness can have a signifiant impact on your personal mental health. So take action and “Give some Kindness”. You can do this each day or each week to help others and yourself.

Oct 09

Stretching The Cultural Bungee Cord

By Margaret

JumpShift partner, Nick Petrie shares his learnings from working with leaders over the last seven years and the trends he’s noticed.

Have you worked in this type of organisation? It became successful by meeting a particular customer need and found a winning, repeatable formula. Around that formula it developed a strong culture that was: siloed, technically expert, and good at executing. Over time the environment changed and the challenges the company faced became more complex and unpredictable. While the company’s culture still had good aspects to it, it was not quite right for the new, uncertain future. The culture needed to evolve to be more; agile, innovative and cross functional. I don’t know about you but this is the challenge that many successful organisations I meet now face. The question is how does an organisation make that shift?

Developing individuals is not enough.

For many years I thought I had an answer. I ran popular leadership development programs. The leaders told me they loved the programs, gained self-awareness and learned valuable tools. We were preparing leaders for a V.U.C.A. (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) future. However, I noticed a problem. When I followed up a year later and asked leaders what had changed, they often said, ‘not as much as I expected’. I saw that while the individual leaders were growing and changing the cultures that they worked in were not keeping pace. The leaders learned about strategic thinking, collaboration and risk taking, but their cultures still rewarded tactical thinking, siloed behaviour and never failing.

Culture acts like a bungee cord.

My assumption had been that if you grew better individual leaders the culture would inevitably change. It didn’t, at least not fast enough. The culture was like a bungee cord. The more the individual leaders pulled out ahead of the culture the stronger it pulled them back. It takes a lot of energy to stretch the bungee and stay ahead of your company. In the end many leaders get worn down and either stop  stretching or cut the cord and leave. 

A rising (culture) tide lifts all boats.

Leadership programs are incredibly valuable, and organisations should continue them. But I came to realise that the biggest results came when organisations learned to grow their leaders and evolve their culture – at the same time. Not as two separate methods but as one unified approach. Programs on their own might help individuals. But if you elevate the culture as well, the rising tide lifts all boats. 

How do you create that rising tide?

Over the last 7 years I’ve worked with dozens of organisations who were interested in growing their leaders and evolving their culture. I’ve learned many lessons, made a few mistakes and helped the organisations and leaders have many successes.

About six months ago I gave myself a break to stop and write about what I’d learned. I’ve summarised it all in my new white-paper Leaders Developing Leaders: Stretching the Cultural Bungee Cord.  It focuses on the story of 4 of the organisations I partnered with to vertically grow their leaders and cultures. You’ll see all the tools and methods we used and you’ll hear from the CEO’s and executives who went through the experience. They’ll tell you what we did, what it was like and the results they got. Nearly any organisation could emulate this if they followed the same process.

Nick Petrie

PS – If you are the sort of person who finds the ideas above interesting you’re probably a great fit for the Vertical Leadership Incubator. Join Nick Petrie and Carl Sanders-Edwards (founder of JumpShift) in Atlanta, United States on Jan 29 and 30, 2020 to learn more about how you can implement Vertical Leadership Development in your organisation. Vertical development is at the leading edge of our field and a great way to add more tools to your toolkit!

Try the online Vertical Incubator for free.

  1. Sign up to Adeption to learn the basics of Vertical Development for free
  2. Learn more about the Incubator here

Jul 03

Is Learning To Say ‘NO’ The Key To Success?

By Margaret

Tune in this week for some words of wisdom from lead JumpShift facilitator Wanda Baldock on how learning to say ‘no’ can free up your time and energy for the things in life that really matter. (5 min read)

It seems counterintuitive at first to consider saying ‘no’ could be the key to a higher quality life, but as Greg McKeown shares in his book Essentialism, ‘If you don’t prioritise your life someone else will.’

You may have heard about the ‘fight against the glorification of being busy.’ I often reflect on how most of what I know about people is how busy they are – surely being busy isn’t the goal

I ask people I care about, how are they are or what they’ve been up to? The answer is some variation of ‘oh man flat out’, ‘crazy busy’, ‘under the pump’, ‘busy, but coping’ and I wonder ‘surely that’s not success?’.

Pete Schibili, (Europe based JumpShift facilitator) gave me a different answer to that question about 5 years ago when he responded, ‘I’m trying to be productive, not busy‘. This really helped me to look at this from a new perspective.

In Susan Brady’s book Mastering Your Inner Critic‘, Richard Leider sheds some light on what the ‘goal’ or ‘success’ really is when he explains why it is ‘purpose’ that counts in this life.  He writes; ‘Knowing your purpose is essential; it is not a luxury or only for the affluent or wealthy.  It is in fact, fundamental to our health, our healing, our longevity, our productivity and our prosperity.’

Having more purpose can provide clarity from the mental clutter that finds its way into our lives. It is the beacon designed to help us make decisions and set our priorities, it helps us deflect what everyone else wants, what society wants or what our conditioning wants and just say YES to what matters most.   Greg McKeown describes as the antidote to the negative impact of ‘success’ (which manifests as a change from the focused drive towards achievement) as being the practise of moving from an ‘undisciplined pursuit of more to a disciplined pursuit of less.’

The Personal Shield tool from Adeption was critical in my own understanding of my (evolving) purpose, helping me focus on who I am, what I want and what matters to me.  Including, of course, what I am not, what I don’t want, and what just does not matter to me.

The process and work of connecting with purpose itself can sometimes be developed in the opposite way too, for example through a ‘Maria Kondo’esk’ internal audit: asking yourself what the tasks, events, mindsets, beliefs, habits, obligations, and people (gasp!) in our lives that no longer serve us or those that may have a negative impact.  By clearing the clutter, we allow for clarity to enter and answer what we really want and are uniquely here to do.  The question changes from ‘what can I do to be successful?’ to ‘what can I stop doing to be successful?’.
In my observation; the challenge in our ‘polite’ and sometimes ‘people pleasing’ society is getting confident enough to say ‘no’.  It feels wrong at first, especially if we are expert ‘people pleasers’ to begin with (guilty!), fear can kick in when we create stories about the consequences of not being all things, to all people, all the time. 

I have found like all skills; it is a practice beginning with saying ‘no’ to small things, like the networking event that doesn’t add value or drinks with that group of friends who make you feel crappy.  Building up to bigger things like saying ‘no’ to a well-paid contract with an organisation whose values do not align with yours and because of the impact to your mission it just not worth it, leaving space for better things.

Let’s say, we know what we want to say ‘yes’ to and have gotten clear on what we don’t want, it becomes about so how do we say a graceful ‘no’…  this is likely to be personal and something that shouldn’t be prescribed, however I have found it can in fact be done while preserving people’s feelings and the relationship. 

  • ‘Thank you for the offer but I am unable to do that at this time’ seems to go down ok.  I try to resist the urge to over explain
  • Setting my own schedule around my own priorities (aligned to my greater mission) and quietly, but firmly not yielding in my priorities to serve the needs of others. 
  • I have also found it beneficial to share with certain people my work on my priorities and purpose, which gives people context.  More often than not, people not only understand but respect a well-considered ‘no’. 

At the end of the day, if people cannot accept our positive boundaries and efforts to pursue our higher goals and purpose then perhaps the relationship could do with being re-evaluated anyway?

The result of this is feeling more space in our lives, and even if we have days full of purposeful action as there is now a sense of choice (again something to get used to and at first you may feel guilty for not being ‘full on or under stress’ all the time).  It brings more mental clarity, more positive results as we honour a few things by doing them really well and we achieve better results, less stress, less resentment and more happiness as we become aligned with our core and free to be authentically ourselves.

In today’s world where we are so flooded with information, where there is a constant fight for our attention and mental illness is the epidemic of our time, it is more important than ever for us to become ‘unbusy’, mindful and discerning, and get really good at saying NO – with love 😉

Thanks for reading! 

Continue reading
Apr 03

A Coach At Hand 24/7

By Margaret

This weeks insight:

People get lost, anxious and stuck with tricky challenges all the time – i.e. I’m stuck in knowing how to respond to some feedback. These challenges are generally people and communication based rather than technical. There is an assumption you should already know how to deal with them so asking for help is hard. Good help is hard to get – coaches or mentors aren’t available at all or in the moment. One way content doesn’t help (video’s courses etc) – it’s not relevant and doesn’t ‘unstuck’ thinking

Ideally you would have a great mentor / coach to ask and talk it through to get a clear plan of action so, ‘bingo’, you are off and running.  Even better, the mentor/coach will follow up with you afterwards to reflect on what happened  so you not only get moving again but also ‘develop’. 

However most of the time most of us don’t have this coach or mentor so remain are stuck,ruminating and worst – stressed.

Now you have Snackables.  You have 24/7 access to critical moment dependent coaching conversations. Each one is led by world experts in the challenge you are facing to help untangle your thinking, get you fresh ideas and guide you to make a plan to deal with your challenge, all within 10mins.  Even better you get to benefit from how 1000’s of other leaders like you dealt with similar situations.  It’s potentially better than a coach (sorry team:)!  In a pickle with any of these situations?

I don’t have time for this, I’d rather not have this conversations, Work is stressing me out, I need a breakthrough idea, I’ve got feedback to give, I’m not sure how to decide

We’ve got you covered!  More coaching conversations from more experts coming all the time…

Thanks for reading!

Carl @JumpShift

Mar 27

Agile Leadership

By Margaret

This weeks insight:

It was 25 years ago but I still clearly remember my computer science professor saying that computer software (and microchips) was the most complex thing humans have created. This was before the dot com boom, the rise of google and social media and before the mainstream application of AI! 

About the same time, this complexity also led to the emergence of agile as a methodology to help develop software. The premise was simple, you can’t design and deliver such complex things in one long waterfall of requirements then design, then build, then test.

Instead, start with a clear vision but work iteratively in short cycles or sprints, understanding, designing and delivering as you go. It’s not perfect, but agile has prevailed and is now permeating into most progressive organisations as a vital tool for how you organise and get any work done – not just software.

However some fields are still woefully behind, one is leadership development. Despite the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous (VUCA) environments that leaders today deal with we are still decades behind in how we develop leaders. Waterfall style events and programs where leaders are expected to absorb and transform in fixed periods of time with fixed content are the norm.

For 10 yrs now at JumpShift we have been bringing an agile approach to leadership development. Prompting development with a series of short sprints of reflection, inspiration and experimentation (smart action) that then becomes a habit has proven to work a treat. Our job now is to share and make this available to bigger audiences and help make a bigger more positive impact.

So what’s next? Well I see three things:

1) Making this approach ever more scalable

2) Share what we have been doing more widely and make sure we take a leadership role in promoting the agile approach to leadership development

3) Align our agile approach directly with vertical leadership development. Our vertical leadership development incubators have shown me that leadership development professionals are hungry for a more concrete, modern, ‘how to’ approach and we have exactly that, plus a great story!

Thanks for reading!

Carl @JumpShift

Mar 12

The Broccoli Challenge

By Margaret

This weeks insight:

I started out as an Engineer. I believed that if something works then it would work out. Get it? Well, it turns out that this just isn’t so. A great solution that works doesn’t necessarily mean that people will buy and use it. We call this our broccoli challenge.

Walk into a fast food shop full of fried chicken plus some raw broccoli for sale. What will most people choose? Broccoli is better for you, it will help you live longer, clearly the best choice. However I wouldn’t want my livelihood depending on people buying the broccoli!

Leadership development (that works) is a bit like broccoli. It takes work, so unless you are super motivated, or someone tells you that you have to do it, you probably won’t. It’s taken me a long time to realise this and move on from focusing on a solution that first works, to a solution that people intrinsically want (and still works).

We need to reframe and even hide leadership development as an outcome of helping people deal with the challenges and opportunities of everyday work life (remember the jobs-to-be done from early insights). It’s actually a small change yet it’s a huge reframe for how we develop. I wish I knew this at the start.

Thanks for reading!


Nov 01

The Peak-End Rule

By Margaret

This week’s insight:

The theory behind it is about fixing pits and then building peaks – not endlessly fixing small potholes. Why? Well it turns out that people only remember key moments about experiences. Generally these are the peaks (or pits) and the end. Delighted is better than satisfied.

For an interesting read look into some of the founding research regarding how this relates to procedures such as colonoscopies! Think of the now, this concept can help in the work that you do….

– Running a workshop? Design to have a truly epic moment and finish on a high.

– Supporting customers? Surprise them with a ‘remarkable’ moment, like …… (fill in the blank).

– Designing software? Give it a jaw dropping feature and be sure to show everyone.

– Running a team meeting? Share something unique from each person.

Give some of these ideas a go! Let us know how you get on in actioning these principles whether it be in your work, personal life or both!

Thanks for reading!


Oct 25

Balance, Integration or Equilibrium?

By Margaret

This week’s insight: Balance, integration or equilibrium?


This insight is a question that I’d love some input on.  We work with 10,000’s of people and nearly everyone talks about being busy.  To much on, never done, overwhelmed, no balance.  We face it ourselves!  Personally I think a lot of it is due to technology making it possible for us to do, consume and initiate so much more.  Now the mandate is on us to restrict what gets on our plate and we don’t know how to turn off the tap!  However, let’s say that isn’t the case.  You are genuinely busy, have a big project to nail, travel, an event to train for.  How do you deal with it?   We give inspiration that falls into roughly three buckets:
  1. Seek balance.  Don’t overwork or overplay.  Blend busy time with quiet time every day and every week.  This sits well with our ‘development is a iterative process’ school of thought.
  2. Integrate.  Balance is a trade off.  Don’t work but relax.  Integration instead says look for ways to do both.  Practice your leadership, network, get involved in the community all at once by coaching your kids team.  We most often mention this method as an inspire idea
  3. Equilibrium.  A new one I’ve learnt and been mulling.  Don’t fight the fact that sometimes you need to go deep with some aspect of your life.   Accept it, but make sure you return things to equilibrium when done.  Away travelling for work?  Then take the afternoon off to cook the family dinner when back.
What do you think? We’d love to hear some of your thoughts!