10 Amazing Women Leaders to Watch 2022
The Silicon Review
“My relationship with organisations tends to be enduring and response to ongoing and emerging challenges, with programmes tailored to their needs.”
Lynne Peyton Consultancy delivers a multi-level leadership development programme which promotes positive organisational culture and better outcomes for service users. The consultancy’s main motto is to improve children’s lives. Lynn Peyton is headquartered in Belfast, Ulster.
Lynne Peyton: Interview excerpt
Q. What is your story?
I am the eldest of four girls. We grew up in a relatively strict working-class family with strong principles in a council house on the outskirts of Belfast. I got my first Saturday job at age 13.
I loved languages from an early age and wanted to be a French teacher with romantic notions of working in Europe. When we finished High School, seven of us went to work in a holiday camp in the south of England which brought me into contact with seasonal workers with no home of their own, young people who made bad decisions and ended up estranged from their families, workers who had served prison sentences and folks who were addicted to alcohol and drugs. Their stories fascinated me and changed my life’s direction. I switched my course from modern languages to social studies. Eventually, I obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work, with a special interest to this day in children’s services and mental health. They are so closely interlinked as why so many children’s issues are related to parental alcohol/drug dependence, domestic violence in all its forms, and parental/children’s mental ill-health.
After 15 years in different senior management positions in statutory and not-for-profit agencies, I was frustrated by how services were run and the lack of energy and momentum. Following a firewalk at a Tony Robbins event in 2000, I decided to find a different path. Later, I set up my consultancy in 2001 with no clients—just a belief that I could help organizations working with children and families to get better results.
Q. What has been your greatest challenge?
Initially I was commissioned to undertake audits of practice and report to senior management how to improve outcomes at the coal face. Increasingly I widened the span of the work to include the context in which services were delivered, the training and learning provided the interfaces with other agencies and the confidence in the leadership. It was evident that many agencies lacked leadership and joined up thinking and that many (in staff) were not working at an optimal level. Fortunately, due to a combination of forward-thinking senior officers along with my credibility and understanding of their world, I was knocking on open doors. I knew that my conventional training was not enough and went on to obtain qualifications in NLP and as a master practitioner in neuroscience.
Q. Trust is one of the most important currencies of leadership. How have you established trust in your work?
As Mr. Covey says, trust takes time to establish and can be lost in a heartbeat.
In the past 10 years, I have coached several hundred senior managers at all levels in organisations, run hundreds of experiential workshops and with insights from all of those events, developed the CORE leadership development programme, a multi-level approach to changing the culture within organisations through developing leadership skills at all levels. This is based on an understanding that trust is integral to all meaningful relationships. My clients come back time and again because they trust me to listen to their current challenges and work with them to effect the necessary changes.
Overview: CORE (Communication, Optimisation, Relationships, Evaluation)
Communication—Honest, open two-way communication is key to a healthy organisation. All communication starts with rapport and an understanding of the other person’s model of the world. I recently taught two models for connecting more effectively with others as guest lecturer on an MBA course and I was thrilled that even a very senior company director contacted me to say he loved the new insights and had already started to implement them. Communication is about listening as well as speaking and making it count.
Optimisation—It’s not just about more staff, it’s about optimising the staff we already have by ensuring they are on purpose, have fulfilling roles that are aligned to their talents and skills. As Jim Collins says, it’s not just about having the right people on the bus; it’s about having them in the right seats. So many bureaucracies appoint people off panels without any consideration of their fit with the job in hand. Optimisation is also about having a growth mindset, a can-do attitude, and a belief in the art of the possible. I learned that from my father who always said, “The only day I was beaten, was the day I didn’t show up”. Let’s all show up and do our best. Two of our staff members have been with us for 25 years and I can’t remember the last time either of them failed to show up. All through COVID-19, they have worked remotely during stringent lockdown and operated a rota in recent months and done whatever it took to keep responding to our clients’ needs.
Relationships—One of the most common challenges during the pandemic is maintaining a sense of team identity and purpose, including inducting and integrating new staff and keeping in touch with those who had the virus, those who are shielding due to underlying health issues or due to caring responsibilities. One of the hardest hit groups have been parents with young children and those who are home schooling. Isolation has been an issue for so many people and team leaders have had to be creative about maintaining team contacts and promoting staff wellbeing.
Evaluation—As I said earlier, if it works do more of it and the only way we will know that is if we evaluate the impact of our words, our actions, our systems. A big part of CORE is encouraging leaders to be more aware and more reflective. When something bows well, evaluate what worked and what was their role in it? So many audits are tick box exercises rather than learning opportunities.
Q. How important is having a strong team?
Teambuilding is at the heart of great leadership and we all operate within multiple teams, some are enduing while others are context or project specific. Often team leaders do not recognise the importance of investing in building their teams.
Teams need to be clear on their purpose – their mission, how they are going to make a difference to the company, their clients and the wider community. In order to get the conversation going and establish some ground rules for their team, I encourage some simple exercises to get teams talking about their identity including thinking through what their team stands for:
T—Trust; no team can operate effectively without trust
E—Everyone; teams bring everyone with them and leave no one behind
A—Accountability; how are they going to hold themselves and each other accountable?
M—Motivation; what motivates each individual and how can tasks be aligned to interests and abilities?
Q. How have you adjusted to the constraints of working during the pandemic?
It’s certainly strange not to be standing up in front of rooms full of people as there is nothing to beat the energy generated within a room full of inquiring and motivated leaders—with the right focus and guidance they can literally spark phenomenal ideas off each other and make decisions that can shape the organisation. What has been amazing is just how much can be done online. Leading workshops on online platforms requires a different skill set, but the benefit has been a greater requirement for one-to-one coaching which is where some of the real breakthroughs happen.
The combination of group and individual mentoring has been really successful and is an optimal way to deliver the CORE programme.
Q. How do you measure success?
Jim Rohn says success is not what you achieve; it is who you become. I love seeing the folks I coach become confident, competent leaders who empower their staff, build resilient teams which ultimately provide empathetic services to the most vulnerable in our society and keep more children safe. Success is being part of their journey and getting emails out of the blue hearing of their breakthroughs and growth. When someone says ‘that day we talked about…changed my life’ or ‘I still remember what you said about…and I use it every single day”.
I believe in the concept that success is never accidental, we need to identify and implement strategies for success, evaluating what works and why. It is important to gain understanding of what did not work, being smart enough to get the learning and do something different next time.
There also has to be accountability, and leaders have to invest in their own growth. I require everyone I work with to prepare for sessions and to follow up on the learning. I am quite prepared to retire clients who do not put in the work.
How you do something is how you do everything, so I am selective about which clients I retain and fortunately it is extremely rare for there to be issues.
Q. How do you stay on top of your game and ensure personal and professional growth?
Since being first exposed to Tony Robbins at a UPW event in Geneva in 1999, I have been committed to lifelong education and personal development. Having completed all of the Robbins Master University programs, I went on to graduate from leadership mastery. I was honored to be appointed Senior Leader and to support Tony’s events in the UK and USA for almost 10 years. The training in NLP, human behavior, and creating positive shifts in people’s thinking and identity has been invaluable. I also qualified in neuroscience with Strategic Resources International and in coaching, mentoring, and masterminding with Success Resources International, leading their European mastermind group for over a year. Most recently, being part of the JT Foxx family has exposed me to the philosophy of some of the most genuine and inspirational leaders of the time, including Stedman Graham, Nido Qubein, Hugh Hilton, and George Ross.
Q. Where will you be in Five Years?
Hopefully, still doing what I love and growing the leaders of the future. However, I realize how important it is to ensure my materials are more accessible. I am working with two platforms in Australia to adapt the CORE program of leadership into study modules.
Since the early days of COVID-19, I send a weekly article on leadership tips to my database. The feedback has been so positive and I am determining how to publish the content in several eBooks. Leadership really is simple, and we shouldn’t overcomplicate it.
The Driving Force Behind the Triumph of Lynne Peyton Consultancy
Lynne Peyton, Founder, serves as the Change Management Consultant of Lynne Peyton Consultancy. Besides, she is an international keynote speaker and respected author.