I was very lucky to attend a wonderful concert at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester last night, the premier music venue in the Northwest no less. The event was a celebration of the 500 \"image\"year anniversary of Bolton Boy’s school, 100 years of the Girl’s school and a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Great War. Over 200 children from all ages across the schools performed with specialist choirs, orchestras, bands and soloists! Quite a musical feast. My younger daughter was part of the ‘massed year 7 voices’ and enjoyed the experience, belting out Take That with the best of them!

What got me thinking was the sheer scale and audaciousness of the exercise – ultimately driven by 2 reasons I think. 1. To celebrate significant anniversaries and achievements 2. To explicitly showcase the capabilities and excellence of the school and its pupils! It is the second of these two motivators that interests me. For a reasonably prestigious fee paying school the requirement to maintain a positive and successful image, in the minds of us parents and the wider public at large, is a strong one. Why would they not take every opportunity to engage in a spot of ‘shameless hornblowing’ (no musical puns intended). The term ‘shameless hornblowing’ came from some work we did in my previous organisation with a chap called Alan Weiss – protagonist of the Million Dollar Consultant. Alan made the claim that if you do not celebrate your own success, blow your own trumpet and proclaim how brilliant you are, it is unlikely that anyone will do it for you. For us English types this is counter-cultural, for him, as a brash Californian it seemed to come pretty naturally – the image of him posing with his two convertible Bentleys in front of a ‘ginormous’ house was screaming “look how successful I am!” We shy away from reminding people what we have achieved, telling people how successful we are, demonstrating what a great job we do or celebrating something that we (not our teams) have delivered! Why is this? Is it simply that we are brought up not to brag, not to boast and not to be more than we are? But this is such a limiting mindset – if we tell the brain to deliver more of the same it will; if we feed it essence of excellence and challenge ourselves to think bigger by focussing on what we HAVE/CAN achieve rather than just on what still remains to do, it will respond!

But why does this matter to us as we go about our daily grind of leading and working in teams? It matters because to be successful in whatever you are doing requires energy and confidence, and unfortunately there are probably more things that sap your energy and confidence on a daily basis than bolster it. By celebrating success, by recognising how great we are and our achievements, by pushing ourselves forward and telling people this, we can create energy and confidence in ourselves and through others. I talked in my last blog about the challenge of building confidence and how fragile it is, ‘shameless hornblowing’ is one of the ways of putting deposits in the confidence bank!

Give it a go today – indulge in a bit of shameless hornblowing and tell me and the world what YOU have achieved and how brilliant you are!


One response to “Shameless Hornblowing”

  1. Hornblowing novice avatar
    Hornblowing novice

    It is fair to say that I find it much more enjoyable blowing someone else’s horn than blowing my own! If I blow my own, what’s in it for me? How do I get away from the feeling that if I emphasis the things that are good and great about me, I set myself up as a target for others to knock down, find fault with, wait for me to fail?

    Is that a product of my upbringing, my culture, my environment? I know not. What I do know is that I don’t warm to braggers but do envy those who don’t give a damn about who and what they are or who knows it. So, if it’s OK with you Mr F, I’ll go for a half-way house. If someone blows my horn for me, I’ll accept those positive strokes. And I will head into my work with a positive attitude. Asking me to do any more will just take a little more time.

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