He woke up quickly as always, out of bed and half-dressed before his eyes were even fully opened. His mind playing catch-up with his body he started to think about the day he had planned with Andrew, his executive coach and leader of the Leadership development program Brendon and instigated. They worked well together. Andrew understood Brendon’s leadership philosophy. In fact back in school days they had played in the same football team though Andrew had long since given up football whilst Brendon still needed that hard physical outlet to clear his head and prove to himself he was still alive. Nothing like being ground into the dirt to make you realise you were a living breathing red blooded male! Brendon is a big believer in the benefit of team work, strong leadership, encouragement and engagement. His approach seemed to work well with most of his male managers, though not all, but he was perplexed at why the same approach was not working with his extremely capable female managers. He was particularly concerned about Gemma. She had come into his section as a future star. Bright and capable she had an excellent record and fast promotion but she seemed to be floundering. Brendon frequently threw her opportunities in meetings to show what she knew, what she could do, but she always backed away from the openings he gave her. The more he encouraged her the worse it got. She had also started to get some adverse ratings from her direct reports. It wasn’t that she was unhelpful or rode them too hard, it was that she could be moody and unpredictable, suddenly coming down hard on someone for some minor thing.
When Andrew had first suggested Anna and Lex and their Equine Leadership Workshops he had thought it sounded like a good day out for a bit of team building but Andrew convinced him there was more to it than that. That in fact working with the horses had been deeply transformational for Andrew himself and he knew the power of it. Brendon just hoped no-one got kicked, bitten or trampled on in the course of the day.
Cloud hung back at the edge of the herd as the morning feeds were dispensed. She let them jostle and push before she moved up to the last remaining bowl Unfortunately it was uncomfortably close to Ostara as none of the other horses wanted to be in striking distance, but Anna had made sure there was plenty of room between bowls so whilst she could never relax, her concentration always on the chestnut mare, Cloud was able to eat most of her feed before Ostara, having finished her own, chased her away from it.
As they had got nearer to the farm, Brendon’s excitement and worry and increased equally. He really relished the idea of being outside instead of stuck in a huge air-conditioned building like a million others but for slight difference in décor and design and doing something new was always interesting. On the other hand he needed to get to the heart of the problem with Gemma. He had been told if her ratings didn’t improve quickly she would be moved out of his department and he knew he needed her expertise. If only he could “fix” what was wrong with her. He knew she was dedicated and put in long hours, but her team were losing faith in her and the whole sections engagement scores were suffering. He looked across at her and saw her gaze out the window and a small frown came to his face. She glanced his way, seeming to feel his look so he turned way quickly to look out his own window.
It was good to see Anna and Lex again. He had met them briefly in the city when they had scoped out the day but this was the first time he had seen them on the farm. How capable they both looked. It gave him a lot of confidence.
The horse milled around in the arena for a while, they hadn’t been in there for a while so first they needed to check it out. Cloud was interested in the group of people under the awning, she knew Anna was there and she could smell the slight hint of liquorice coming from Anna’s direction. Lost in a licorice dream she failed to notice Ostara until she saw the teeth coming at her, then the wheel and kick. One hoof caught her squarely in the chest before she was able to get out the way. The two young geldings, excited by the circumstances started a mock battle, running and rearing and generally taking up space so Cloud moved away to the edge till things had settled down and she could slowly re-join the herd.