Learn how to create a positive ripple effect in your professional interactions

How would you like to become more motivational, innovative, inclusive, memorable, energetic, knowledgeable, insightful, fun, kind, passionate and positive?

e too. Always. So let me introduce you today to Emma Lloyd, founder of the UK-based global learning and development company, Create the Ripple. Each of those descriptive words above come from their website as outcome goals for their engagements.

“We’re doing an awful lot around human skills,” Emma said. “Helping support people with gratitude, emotional intelligence and empathy. People don’t realise that these are skills that we need to use and develop.”

As I spoke to her on Zoom, I enjoyed reading the Mother Teresa attributed quote which inspired the name of Emma’s company, written in very large print on the wall behind her: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Emma shared that, long before the quote and the company, it was her adoptive parents who instilled in her a passion for positivity and kindness.

“I was very fortunate that to have two wonderful parents who made a difference to me and every single day. What stays in my mind is that somebody was bold enough, caring enough and kind enough to take me into their lives,” Emma shared.

Her positivity was not simply formed by a happy childhood, it was also forged and even strengthened through the tragedy of a brain aneurysm that attacked her father over 10 years ago.

When his aneurysm was discovered, doctors operated on Emma’s dad to try to help him. The surgery may have saved his life, but it also unfortunately resulted in severe and permanent brain damage as well.

“I remember asking what I could do to help. My mother was to one side when the doctor said, ‘There’s nothing you can do. Your father won’t get better.’”

In that moment (despite her initial crushing feeling about the man who had given her everything and the mother who was still “relatively young and was gearing up for retirement with her husband”), Emma resolved to hang tight to the power of positivity.

Therefore, Create the Ripple was born amidst intense personal adversity.

“It was an awful situation, but it was what we were dealt. So, we decided to make the best of it. Which we did,” Emma said.

Her mother and Emma researched and located the best nursing home for her father they could afford.

For the next almost decade, they visited him regularly every week until he sadly succumbed to Covid during the pandemic when the first wave of the deadly virus swept through his facility.

It’s the Little Things

It’s here where I will broaden out Emma’s story, like a ripple, and share some lessons.

Since her father died during lockdown, Emma couldn’t properly comfort her mother in-person. Instead, she left what she described as “little packages” outside her mum’s door. She quickly noticed the impact of these seemingly small gestures. It’s why now, as we spoke during the interview, she had just completed the “excess baggage” fees for an upcoming client trip to Asia. “I always bring lots of little treats for everyone. It’s the things people remember. We can’t lose sight of that.”

I agree. Too often, we might be tempted to focus more on information and less on connection. But it’s the smaller, more thoughtful bits that often impact us the most.

Continuous Learning

If Emma had given up, Create the Ripple might never have been created. The notion of going on is one of the supportive pillars of her approach to developing herself and others.

“I think what we’re recognising as we are ‘zooming’ quite literally though the 21st century, is that the ability for continuous learning is critical. And one of humanity’s intrinsic motivators is about mastery. We like to get better at stuff, we like to learn,” she said.

It’s easy to mark off a subject as complete when there is still plenty of refinement that could be made. Likewise, it’s common for a setback to stop us in our tracks. You’re welcome to pause and regroup.

But keep striving. Emma hasn’t stopped moving forward and neither should we.

Tap Into Your Potential

Emma creates purposeful environments in which people “choose” to learn and develop and positively challenge themselves.

“When you’ve got lots of different industries and lots of different companies all working alongside each other, it’s our human-ness which actually is the competitive advantage,” Emma states.

So, consider how well you know yourself. For instance, do you think of yourself more as a talker or a listener? Self-awareness tests or communication style assessments alongside interviews or 360 surveys from colleagues or managers can help you identify which areas you may wish to target as development opportunities.

Strength Within You

Sometimes, Emma helps her clients improve gap areas. Other times, she points out, it is important to take a different approach.

“A great place to learn from is actually focusing on the stuff we already do really well. There’s an opportunity to be more conscious on doing that more purposefully even before we explore what we might want to do differently,” she said.

Like Emma, I believe that one person can positively impact on countless others. To do that, it first takes proactive effort – to – create the ripple.

Write to Gina in care of [email protected]
With corporate clients in five continents, Gina London is a premier communications strategy, structure and delivery expert. She is also a media analyst, author, speaker and former CNN anchor.
@TheGinaLondon 885​

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