I Am Appraising

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I am in my car waiting to enter the building in front of me. It is a modern and dynamic place. I cannot tell you its name or who I am about to meet for privacy reasons, but the reason for my visit is to, effectively, assess the host. Are they competent to perform their task and to recognise their limits of performance and development?

It is a charged atmosphere. I have been appraising, mentoring, training, supporting and coaching for as many professional years as I care to remember. There is something odd about putting a peer into the spotlight.

At times, the professional competencies of colleagues needs to be assessed. Those that are in the public eye or who perform critical tasks SHOULD be able to show that they are fit for the job, safe and untroubled. It makes sense.

But, just sometimes, when you are alone with a colleague in their private room, the atmosphere changes from “can you do it” to “I am here to help”. There is a fine line between assessment in its sterile form and the human tendency of putting a firm arm around someone’s shoulder and telling them everything will be just swell.

The fact remains that being competent to perform a task is as much dependent on those that you work with, party with and sleep with and it is on you as a person and the qualifications you have amassed.

Which brings me back to me in my car. I believe in what I do and get paid handsomely for it. Whether I give good value is another matter but assessing someone for a wide and public role feels slightly odd in the confines if a private office over tea and biscuits.

I Met Roger Neighbour

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Mark Clayson and Roger Neighbour

Mark Clayson and Roger Neighbour

Today was a good day. I met Roger Neighbour – a name that will mean little to any of you, I expect. He is a best selling author of a number of books but, in particular, The Inner Apprentice.

Roger is one of those people that has a capacity for mental agility that most of can only dream of. As well as being intellectual and refined he, at the same time, is accommodating and humble. He is the sort of person that anyone could talk to. He exudes joy and contentment and makes people smile wherever he goes.

Roger has held many prestigious positions – mainly with the Royal College of General Practitioners and is known throughout the world, yet I feel he could have been not only famous but extremely rich in the process. It is a testament to him that he has kept his feet firmly nailed to the ground and spent large proportions of his professional life helping young doctors in training as well as us older farts that should really know better.

It is odd that my awe of Roger stems from something else other than his fame in the public sense. It shows, for me at least, that we can be influenced by different people doing different things at different times. It all comes down to “reception”.

Being in a receptive frame of mind opens up all sorts of possibilities. For me, Roger was the chief Examiner (officially “Convenor”) when I was a junior examiner. His presence as our “leader” and the way he dealt both with the trivialities and the enormities of the post – both with equally effortless action – made us juniors not only feel safe and comforted but also began the process of opening our minds to our own individual potentials.

Being “receptive” to change and development is a fundamental state in order for us to achieve more than we have done already. It is an active state – not one that is thrust upon us. Many things allow this “receptive state” to grow, change and metamorphose into something greater. In my case, at THAT time, it was people like Roger.

I mean nothing to Roger Neighbour. He is a self determined man that got where he did through his own mental prowess and his enormous effort.  Although I met him today, I will already be out of his mind. However, seeing him again after many years has made me realise and appreciate the power of others to help us steer our paths to our own personal greatness – however we may define it. Thank you, Roger.

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