Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Less shallow work, More Deep Work, leads to delivering great value

I joined Twitter in December 2008. Nearly 10000 tweets later I'm still intrigued by the concept.

Putting thoughts into 140 characters in itself has been a discipline that's greatly helped my ability and willingness to be concise.

I may not be on Twitter for much longer though.

I’m tired of the lack of kindness there where some people say defamatory and cruel things about other humans they wouldn’t say in person, and are taking no accountability for their vitriol.

Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle
attributed to John Watson

I had similar feelings when I left Facebook at 9.34 am on 21st April 2012. This was a significant decision. I was endeavouring to zig when everyone else (over a billion people now and counting) seemed to be zagging.

I have no regrets.

Facebook does a good thing for my mother-in-law who is 88. She loves to go there to see the latest pictures and read the stories of her grandchildren and great grandchildren on the family page. No doubt Facebook is good in other ways too. I’ve decided it’s just not for me.

My decision to leave Facebook was part of a quest to find ways to use technology in ways that I could still make meaningful connection with people who highly valued such connection, and also to avoid the plague on social media that I believe is soul-destroying for millions of people. It’s anti-social, and increasingly anti-human.

I'm currently questioning the value of LinkedIn too. I think there may be hope given the following from CEO Jeff Weiner:

I'd be interested in your thoughts about where you're at with social media and where you're headed with it. Please comment below.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I was once addicted to social-media and 'The Internet of Things' in general.

When I realised this I gradually began to wean myself off it all.

Now my time online, apart from when I'm connecting with people via Zoom (see below), or Skype, is 5 to 15 minutes a day.

I haven't quite quit social media as Dr. Cal Newport suggests is a good idea for our well-being and capacity to produce rare and valuable work.

I have, in addition to dramatically reducing my time and energy engaged in social media, mastered ensuring there’s nothing in my email in-box after 10 minutes of work first thing and last thing in my working day.

Largely I've come to believe that the internet is the biggest rubbish tip in history. Yes I accept one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. I’ve found ways to turn information into insight that my clients find valuable without wading through too much crap. This requires deep work as Dr. Newport calls it. (I'm currently immersing myself in Cal's wonderful book 'Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World')

My smart phone no longer outsmarts me. Most of the time it’s switched off. I use it to make and receive phone calls, check sports results, set my alarm, or listen to music. My ipad is now just for reading books and the odd game I play to relax.

Seth Godin refers to smart phones as 'Pavlov's in your pocket' a great piece you can read here.

Zoom technology is what I now use to make meaningful connection with people who highly value such connection and want a master-mentor relationship. I’ve mastered Zoom’s use over the past 18 months and now use it for 50% of my work.

40% of my work is with people whom I meet with in person. None of them work more than an hour and a half from my home.

What of the remaining 10% of my working life? I was on a plane for only 6 return trips in 2016. My goal was 10 maximum for business, the same goal that I have this year.

I've discovered through all of the above that the internet, and technology in general, can be great to enhance the human experience, my own, and the people who matter to me. It's a matter of choosing wisely.

Some people spend too long staring at screens and not enough time engaging with life.
Paul McGee

I'd be interested in your thoughts about where you're at with social media, the internet, and technology in general, and where you're headed with all of it. Please comment below.

From the moment I read this great book I began integrating it's central theme of less but better into my life and work.

You can read more about this here.

The journey hasn't been easy or simple, nevertheless highly rewarding. I am now the most productive and creative I've ever been.

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
Professor Albus Dumbledore headmaster of the wizarding school Hogwarts

My choice to be really careful and selective in my use of technology, social media, and 'The Internet of Things', means I'm not just more productive and creative, I'm happier too. And, I'm delivering greater value to others.

I'd be interested in your thoughts about where you're at with social media, the internet, and technology in general, and where you're headed with all of it. Please comment below.

Be remarkable.

PS I agree with Seth Godin (read his full article here)

The economics seem to be that the only way to make a living is to reach a lot of people and the only way to reach a lot of people is to race to the bottom, seek out quick clicks, make it easy to swallow, reinforce existing beliefs, keep it short, make it sort of fun, or prurient, or urgent, and most of all, dumb it down.

And that's the true danger of anti-intellectualism. While it's foolish to choose to be stupid, it's cultural suicide to decide that insights, theories and truth don't actually matter. If we don't care to learn more, we won't spend time or resources on knowledge.
Seth Godin

Apparently we are living in a ‘post-truth’ world. This is not true or acceptable in my world.

If ‘post-truth’ is unacceptable to you I very much look forward to connecting with you soon. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Leadership is a verb

I undertake the first two steps of leading, assessing and deciding, rapidly.

The third step, executing, is where I’m constantly tested. Maybe this is your challenge too.

Read more about assessing, deciding, executing here. In gratitude to Kevin Roberts.

There’s triumph and trouble and everything in between when we take action.

To put ourselves out there with the risk that we might fail, that no-one comes with us, that the cost will be unbearable, has tested us humans since we first walked on our planet.

And then of course there’s procrastination, and the deeper reason for inaction, resistance.

Alas leadership is a verb.

I learnt from Steven Pressfield that a key to leadership (and to achieving great results or achieving what we want in areas that are important to us) is overcoming our resistance. You can read more about resistance here. I’m forever learning, unlearning and relearning about the power of overcoming resistance.

Steven believes, and I’ve come to believe it too, that the pain of running away from doing what we know we should is greater than actually doing the work!

Seth Godin got it right too when he said: Resistance gets worse and worse the closer we get to shipping.

I find the following advice from Verne Harnish highly valuable:

It’s time to break apart a 50-year old business term - strategic planning - and think about it in terms of two distinct activities: strategic thinking and execution planning. Each requires two very different teams and processes. Verne Harnish

I've long believed strategic planning to be one of the three great oxymorons in business. The other two are change management and performance management. Please read more about moving on from these morons here.

If you'd like some help please give me a shout. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Finding and Staying On Your Sacred Path

For 25 years now my wife and I have undertaken a ritual on New years Eve or sometime New Years Day. It has served us well.

Back in 1991 my wife bought a set of Sacred Path Cards by Jamie Sams (pictured).

I was initially skeptical.

I read the extensive book that goes with the cards based on my abiding interest in indigenous cultures and particularly spiritual thinking pre and post religion. Jamie’s work is based on the wisdom of Native Americans. I was enthralled with what I read.

Every year since the wisdom we’ve learned from the teachings in the book have proven to be accurate as we reflect on past experiences and what they mean for us in the present and the future.

On New Year Eve 2016 the word Catalyzer from the book was the standout for me.

On New Years Day I googled Catalyzer and found the following at this link.

1. a person who proactively helps another person do something they want, which the wanting person could not or would not do on their own 
2. someone who causes or accelerates something desirable to occur for another person or persons, which would have either occurred slowly or not at all 
3. an individual who sees someone else is not achieving their potential and gets dynamically involved in the person's life to help them improve it

Catalyzer is indeed what I do.

You can find out more about my work here.

How about you?

What are the rituals that you undertake to find and stay on your sacred path?

And are some of them a bit left field or outside of the normal for you?

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Great answers to the tough question - So what do you do?

An exercise that I’ve found very helpful in deciding how best to answer that frequent question, So what do you do? is called Positioning 101 by Matt Church. He’s recently posted it again on LinkedIn which you will find here.

While there are no hard and fast rules, I find that the more intimate the situation the more appropriate it is to answer the question with a focus on You. When you’re unsure of whether you are in front of a prospect or not, you may focus on the activity that you perform, the It. If the person you are speaking to is a clear prospect, then you would focus on the outcome, the Them.
Matt Church

Below is the result of Matt’s exercise for himself and that you can view and download via the link in the first paragraph of this post.

I've completed Matt’s exercise several times before to 'sharpen my saw'. I did so again 5th January. Below are my results:


I’ve worked with more than 1000 leaders, women and men, in over 40 countries since 1991.


I’m in the differencemaking business through helping leaders to increase the positive difference their leadership makes, and creating more leaders in their businesses.


I’m in awe of human beings committed to being who they are and becoming all they’re capable of becoming.


Acting as a catalyzer I helped one of my clients to grow their business 570% in just under 5 years.


I’m like taking a aspirin for a headache in that I provide relief from pain. I’m also like a surgeon in that I help people to remove the cause of pain, yet in their own best way.


I engage in master-mentor relationships with purpose driven business owners and leaders who want to achieve better business results at less personal cost.


I meet monthly 1:1 with members of The Appreciative Leader master-mind group to help each person to execute the one thing they’ve discovered or decided is the next best step to move from where they are to where they want to be.


Learning & Development processes, programs, and/or platforms are not delivering high enough long-term performance increases.

Spending far too much time, energy and money dealing with what are viewed as people problems.

Looking for ways to lighten your load and therefore you're open to elevate your leadership, create more leaders, and improve your processes.

Change is feeling complicated, tiresome and costly, instead of simple, profound, and profitable.

You want greater life/work harmony and want to achieve better business results at less personal cost. 


Catalyzer for leadership, management, and culture learning, unlearning, and relearning that results in you more fully appreciating and getting the best out of yourself and other people.

More people leading and being accountable through feeling valued, living values, and delivering value is a consequence.

The above lead to better business results at less personal cost, and therefore greater life/work harmony.

It follows that communities, cities, states, nations, world become better too.

I highly recommend doing this exercise yourself.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Focusing on one thing until it's done

I did extensive work with two of my mentors Nick Haines and Matthew Newnham last year, and for part of 2015.

It was a remarkable and sometimes painful learning, unlearning, and relearning experience.

One thing (literally) emerged as a standout - I would better serve my clients (new and existing) and myself by zeroing in on one thing at a time, rather than my tendency to overwhelm others and myself by putting numerous things on the table at any given time.

Focusing on one thing is old wisdom that Nick and Matthew helped me to see in new light. I can tell you that it's taken me awhile to fully integrate this into my way of being!

Who will you become? What will you do next?

For one of my clients their one thing focus this first quarter is on profitability. For another it's culture, and for another it's communication.

In each case it's a matter of Appreciating what is, Imagining what can be, and Creating & Taking the next quantum leap to move from here to there.

One quantum leap action at a time eliminates stress.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Appreciating what is, Imagining what can be, and Quantum Leaping from one to the other are self-contained one things. They also, somewhat paradoxically, form part of a powerful trilogy, one of thirteen threes I'll be exploring in a new series commencing on February 6th.

You can find out more and register for this complimentary 13 week series here.

This series is a part of my one thing this year - being a catalyzer in person for purpose-driven business owners and leaders who want to achieve better business results at less personal cost.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 6 January 2017

The Rule of Three in Leadership

This is a 13 week series (complimentary) of learning, unlearning, and relearning February 6th through May 1st 2017. I'll be exploring with you:

13 threes that I’ve validated since 1991 as paramount to embracing the essence of leadership - fully appreciating and getting the best out of yourself and other people.​

These 13 are critical to creating more leaders in your business which is the purpose of leadership.

They are also fundamental to fulfilling your number one role as a leader, unleashing and enhancing people’s gifts (talents).​

Find out more and register here.

Please note that you must participate in at least one session to receive the recordings of the others.

Of course you're very welcome to participate in as many sessions as you want.

Places are limited for each session to enable everyone the opportunity to share.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

What sentence would your employees use to describe your culture?

This is a fascinating article by Neal Gabler about Costco Wholesale, the world’s third-­largest retailer, with $116 billion in sales in fiscal 2016.

Two things strike me about Costco, their culture is summarised in just four words - “Do the right thing”, and, they're doing their own thing rather than trying to beat their competitors at something.

What sentence would your employees use to describe your culture?

What's your thing?

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Costco seem to understand what's critical about culture. It's who before do?

Typically culture is described as "the way we do things around here." I believe this is only part of the story. Who we are as human beings precedes what we do.

Costco made the cut in one of the great books about purpose-driven businesses, Firms of Endearment. You can read more about this here.

Culture is one of the three key drivers of a 21st century business which I picture in The Appreciative Leader handbook as follows:

The second wave opportunity of getting your copy of the signed, numbered, limited edition handbook, and access to the companion resources web page, and private online community that goes with it, has begun.

Find out more here.

Be remarkable.