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  1. Cosatta slide 1

    In my mission to help organisations resolve stress, I’m always looking for innovative ways of stopping that stress building up in the first place. Recently, I was lucky to interview Andrew Kluge, Chief Executive of Cosatto, suppliers of ‘baby stuff with personality’. Based in an old Lancashire mill, it’s not a location where perhaps you’d expect to find a hive of innovation and fun…

    Cosatto’s mission is to save the world from boring baby stuff, and banishing the boring begins as soon as you walk into the astro-turfed reception, with its large, retro phone. Even the loos are a little unconventional, with bright pink paper, and a speaker playing birdsong. The bright colours of their products are splashed throughout the building – I’ve seen organisations try this before, and it hasn’t always worked. But at Cosatto, it goes way deeper than a few licks of paint.

  2. Pencil rubber Stress

    Now I know that’s a pretty big claim to make (and bearing in mind what I do for a living, possibly an unexpected one).  So let’s explore:  Firstly, managing anything takes time and energy, and there’s not much to spare when you’re stressed out.  Slacken off the effort, and the stresses build back up again.  Many techniques don’t work at all unless you do them often, so it can become yet another big commitment.

    Managing stress is an away-from motivation – to get away from its unpleasant effects.  Like taking a stone out of your shoe, once the discomfort’s gone, you just carry on as you were.  But unfortunately, that stress tends to come back.  So it’s easy to end up yo-yo stressing.  It builds up, you start doing something different, it reduces, you stop and it builds up again….

    And that’s the advantage of the skills to change the underlying stress response.  It’s like taking the stone from your shoe, in a way that it doesn’t come back….

  3. Blog post - horse leaving

    There’s no shortage of reports highlighting the growing problems of stress, and its costs to the UK economy – 9.9 million working days lost every year, according to the Labour Force survey. Add in the reduced productivity and morale, increased conflict and resistance to change, and the extra stress placed on colleagues if someone goes off (or even just off form)….. It makes a pretty compelling case for doing something about it. But are we?

    It’s not that organisations are ignoring it. Many provide confidential counselling helplines, but according to the CIPD, although 37% of organisations offer stress counselling for short term absence, only 3% include it in their top 3 most effective strategies. 

  4. Hole in brick wall

    I often write about stress, and I help a lot of people to overcome it. So I’ve given much thought over the years, to what stress actually is.

    We can’t see it, smell it or touch it….  What stresses you out might not bother me at all (and vice versa).  It’s complicated!  Because stress isn’t just one experience – it’s more of an umbrella term…. 

    Sometimes, it’s frustrated:  You’re stuck in a queue that’s just not moving, or you’re running late in a morning, and your kids just WILL NOT get ready.  And the voice in your mind (and possibly the one coming out too) gets louder and louder as time ticks by, and you’re still not where you need to be.

    That stress could be worry – perhaps money’s tight, or your health’s not 100%, and it keeps playing on your mind.

    You might be feeling anxious about something you’d rather not have to do:  Facing up to someone who’s upset you in the past; or a changing work role, taking you reluctantly into the unknown.

    These are just a few of the experiences which we might call stress. 

    But though they seem very different, every one of them has something in common…..  There’s a gap