An Insight into Penny Ferguson

Take a look into Penny’s life when she’s off the stage.

Launching my new website means that I now need to decide what I am going to put on it as regards ‘backstage’! And ….. before I start I would say that I am incredibly grateful to JJ and all the team at ECP Videos for the time and work they have put in to get this website re-launched in this new style – I welcome comments from anyone who would like to give it to me.

So – on to ‘backstage’! I thought that what I would do is to give some insight into the life of the person who is so passionate about leadership and share with you some of the other passions, many of which will invariably link to personal leadership. I will also share some of the challenges that I might experience and how I choose to deal with them – sometimes well and sometimes not so well! For me, nearly always a truth is that I learn more from what I get wrong as I have to think about it, probably spend a bit of time beating myself up and then having evaluated the situation, imagine how I might have handled it differently. If I get whatever the situation happens to be, right, I rarely evaluate why it worked out but just accept that it worked – a learning opportunity frequently missed in consequence! I will endeavour to make this a monthly ‘diary’ and share any insights that occur during the month.

So what has been happening in the last month or so?

Well, one of the most fabulous experiences was a trip to Sydney with the Marketing Academy.  As we are the leadership faculty for MA and Sherilyn Shackell launched in Australia last year this is now our second trip.  On this occasion I was again accompanied by my younger daughter Emma who ran one of the workshops, plus we were then joined by Karen Hunter running another of the groups.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed working with my group of young and brilliantly talented group of 10 young marketers – they were inspirational. Emma and Karen said the same about their groups but I am convinced mine were the best!!!  So said we all!  I also ran an Open Programme for a group of senior people and that was also great fun with lots of challenging questions.  Sherilyn is now picking up the baton and having delivered one the week after we left is already booked to run some on her return trip in July.  So Australia, here we come!  Please let me know if you have any contacts in Australia who you think might be interested in attending and I will put them in touch with Sherilyn directly.

I write this sitting in an amazing hotel in Romania – Lotus Therm in Oradea and spent one whole hour this morning sitting in the thermal waters – the swimming pools are unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. The hotel has about eight different pools, inside and out. One with a couple of small caves where you can sit and meditate, a couple that have the biggest tunnel slides I have ever seen, one where you start inside and then swim to outside, one that is a very large jacuzzi – utterly amazing – and all thermal water so really good for your health.

This will be one of the places that I am sure Adrian will be offering on his website once he goes live. So – who is Adrian? He is my quite exceptional Romanian housekeeper who is going to help people travel to the beautiful, unusual and also useful places in Romania – such as dentists! Yes, I had all my teeth done here recently for a fraction of the price I would pay in the UK and the best treatment and service I have ever experienced for any dentists anywhere. More of this in a later epistle!

Before I left on this short trip I had a new barbecue installed – just a small one! It was erected in the morning and we had a barbecue that evening despite the odd and very unexpected snowfall! I think I will have to stay away from all these county and garden shows as I invariable get tempted into having something new and fun in the garden. I now am the proud possessor of a pizza oven, an outside dining ‘tent’ and an arctic cabin (barbecue!)!!! I think that plenty of dinner parties for friends and family will be on the menu for this summer.

I finished reading a book recently – Follow Me by Angela Clarke – and a really good crime thriller but very spooky as it is all linked to social media. I found it a bit too close to home demonstrating how social media can work in a very dangerous way. I sometimes find it sad how much time our young spend on their computers or Iphones – sometimes I wonder if we are going to lose the art of face-to-face communicating – building relationships at a really personal level. So many families today don’t even have regular family meals together – another communicating opportunity lost I fear.

Workwise, I am loving every moment of now having my older daughter join the business as of January 1st. As many of you know, my younger daughter Emma re-joined about seven years ago and now Lucy, who was with me in the very early days when I first started has come back – we really are becoming a family business and I LOVE it! One of the things that I enjoyed most this month was going to speak to the 65 person HR team of Costa and as they gave me a two hour slot was able to share enough to give what I hope was real value. The place they chose to run it was Woburn Safari Park which added to the experience. They were really impressive in that Costa appears to have an exceptionally inclusive culture – not easy with the speed that they are growing. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Another piece of news that made my heart sing is that two of my favourite clients are getting back to working together again! Anna Filipopoulos is joining Aggreko as Group HRD with Chris Weston as the CEO – I knew that this would have to happen again at some point and I am delighted for both of them and wish them all success.

One of the practices that I still do my very best to keep up is writing my gratitude book and whenever I do maintain the practice I am aware that I feel better and somehow my life goes more smoothly. And yet ….. even though I know this to be true I still find it easy to let the habit slip and somehow find that a whole week has gone by and there it is sitting on my bedside table waiting to be picked up. There is no question in my mind that if only I can keep my thinking on the things that go well and that I am really grateful for I somehow attract better things into my life. If there is one thought I would like to leave you with this month it is this – consider doing a gratitude book.

Until the next episode, may your life be full of great success, joy and peace.