Monday, 20 February 2017

For your best business results, turn your values into virtues

When I left the corporate world at the start of the last decade of last century to begin my own practice as a mentor, speaker, and strategist, for the first couple of years a lot of my work with clients centred around helping them to create or upgrade their vision, mission and value statements, and better align strategy and execution.

I stopped doing this after something profound happened as I share in the video below:

This encounter was the catalyst to finding a better way. 

In the early part of this century I discovered over the course of a 3 year project with one client, that the better way was, through collaboration, to turn values (usually single words) into virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards").

In the case of this client 18 behaviours were the result of significant work. (we subsequently learned that 18 is too many!)

As behaviours became the focus, or as one of the leaders involved described it "As soon as living our values became our intention, and the key focus of our attention, performance dramatically improved."

I was astounded by the performance improvement and observed two other deep factors at play. The more values were lived, the more people felt valued, and the greater value they delivered to other people. I also learned that sustaining a high level of feeling valued, living values, and delivering value, depended greatly on leadership, management, and culture.

My foundational model (pictured below) for co-creating remarkable workplaces was born.

In the 15 years since many clients have successfully adopted this model, in their own best way (the key to their success). And profoundly, industry, country, or economic climate are irrelevant.

A 14th May 2010 New York Times article by one of my favourite authors and writers, Thomas L. Friedman, drove another stake deeply into the ground.

"So more and more of us are behaving by, what Seidman calls, “situational values”: I do whatever the situation allows. Think Goldman Sachs or BP. The opposite of situational values, argues Seidman, are “sustainable values”: values that inspire in us behaviors that literally sustain our relationships with one another, with our communities, with our institutions, and with our forests, oceans and climate. Of course, to counter this epidemic of situational thinking, we need more and better regulations, but we also need more people behaving better. Regulations only tell you what you can or can’t do in certain situations. Sustainable values inspire you to do what you should do in every situation."

The Seidman Thomas Friedman refers to is Dov Seidman, the C.E.O. of LRN who help companies build ethical cultures. More about Dov here. Please read the full Friedman article here.

Sustainable values are for me virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards"). And sustainable values are a key to your sustainability as an organisation in a world viewed by a few as "post-truth", "fake news".

There's more to your sustainability, and by definition remarkability too.

I recently created a pulse check to help you to assess where you are and where you may need to move to. In the 'Raising The Vitality and Positive Impact of Your Leadership Pulse Check', there's 58 statements to assess your team against that are grouped under the 6 critical success factors (leadership, management, culture, valued, values, value).

I recommend this pulse check to you. You'll find it directly under the Complimentary Resources heading here. No email address, sign-up or subscribing required!

Be remarkable.

Other Valuable Reading

'Big Arrow Behaviour'

Mental Virtues

Business Values - do they exist?

Values or behaviours? Where to focus your culture efforts

Values for working together and professional behaviours

Culture & Values/Behaviours Mapping

Friday, 17 February 2017

Ensuring everyone owns the strategy and execution plan

I’m deeply into Marty Neumeier’s book at the moment.

I’m also loving the great visuals inside the book.

The visual below Marty succinctly explains here.

I love how Marty differentiates mission and vision.

And I love this piece from Marty

“Also notice that purpose is on a higher level than both mission and vision. That’s because even when the mission isn’t going well and the vision seems like a mirage, a strong purpose will keep people coming back to work day after day.”

I would add the following to Marty's model

If you would like some help with creating or instigating any of the above please give me a shout. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Raising The Vitality and Positive Impact of Your Leadership

The most valuable lesson I have learned about workplaces, through working as a mentor with more than 1000 leaders, women and men, in over 40 countries since 1991, is that when people feel valued, live values, and deliver value, the enterprise is highly successful, regardless of industry, country, or economic climate. 

There are two caveats to the above equation:
1) There has to be sound and ethical financial processes and systems in place, and 
2) Products/services being provided are grounded in a unique understanding of what customers/clients need and want, including their experience preferences.

Building and sustaining a valued, values, value workplace requires an ongoing investment of time, energy, and money, remarkable leadership, management, and culture, and the steadfast application of proven principles in your own best way.

In the past decade I have witnessed the addition of a further criteria to this success equation. It's a game changer - leaders must be purpose-driven. This has come about through both evolution and revolution. 

Often in my work I explore this with clients in an historical context as pictured below.

You can read more about this in this previous post where my terms of differencemakers and insightpreneurs are explained.

You might also be interested in my top 21 recommended business books for purpose-driven leaders. You can view and download the list here.

I have been doing a lot of 'deep work' in the past few months to create a simple yet profound diagnostic tool to enable you to assess all of the above. I've also been locking myself away to create a new flagship leadership development program. 

I'm excited today to announce the release of the

It contains 58 statements to check your current vitality and positive impact leadership pulse.

Emailing your aggregated team results to me enables you to schedule a complimentary, no obligation online mentoring session with me. This means that both of us can accurately assess if a tailored program is for you and your team or not.

You can download the pulse check here. 

Details of how we can work together are here.

I'm also going to conduct the program as a 6 months intensive open to individuals.

You can begin with the standalone half-day master-class in Ballarat on 22nd March. You can register here where you can also download the pulse check.

Or you can come straight into the intensive choosing one of the three beginning days. You can also download the pulse check at any of the following links.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Involuntary = challenge; Voluntary = Opportunity

In this interview with Philip Adams former Greek finance minister talks about two causes of dissatisfaction/disruption in the world and why people are moving away from status quo politicians - involuntary under-employment/unemployment, and involuntary immigration.

This is also a great reminder about change (innovation) in your business. If people feel like they have volunteered, positive change is likely. If it feels like change is involuntary, there will be resistance, and no change, or worse negative change, is the consequence.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Stop Focusing on Engaging Your Employees

The Corporate Leadership Council 2004 survey of 59 organisations and 50000 employees was the first major piece of research that I took notice of concerning employee engagement.

The findings blew my mind.  They were: “13% of employees actively disengaged from their work, 11% of employees fully engaged in their work, 76% of employees open to persuasion through increased emotional commitment.”  It was the 76% figure and the accompanying words that blew my mind.

Guess what? Despite billions of dollars being spent on employee engagement nothing much has changed.

The 2012 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study involving 32000 workers found that nearly two-thirds (65%) are not highly engaged.

The latest Gallup research here says "87% OF EMPLOYEES WORLDWIDE ARE NOT ENGAGED AT WORK."

Engagement is a lag measure. It's a result. To improve results we must stop focusing on them and get better at lead metrics. (There's more on lag and lead and performance metrics here.)

Possible action you can take - Stop trying to engage people and focus on helping them to feel valued

Help people to feel better about themselves and their work and they'll become more engaged.

The good news about poor employee engagement is that the magic is in the middle.

First step in recommended action. Start helping people in your business who are neither engaged or disengaged to feel valued.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

PS If you have recent results from your employee engagement survey on your desk (or worse your drawer or cupboard!), start collaborating with your employees today in taking action.

PSS If you're like many businesses I see who either don't take action on surveys or their action is perceived by employees as inadequate, or it's taken too long to take action after results are in

My best advice is to stop doing your survey, because your inaction is a major contributor to employee disengagement!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The meaning of value

Two short talks (about 25 minutes each) that you can access here by Brian Eno and Yanis Varoufakis about the meaning of value are worth your time and energy.

Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

My thoughts on listening to the above talks:
Price is quantifiable whereas value is something we determine.
The relationship we have with a person, group of people, as well as with things, largely determines our perspective of value.

An interesting conversation between Eno and Varoufakis in the Guardian here.

Value delivery in your organisation in my view is a consequence of how well employees feel valued and live your values. Valued, Values, and Value are a consequence of your leadership, management, and culture.

Assuming your product/s and service/s are what people value, and that you have sound financial systems in place, the future success of your business is all about your capability as pictured below.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

“The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.”
― Coco Chanel

“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”
― Oscar Wilde

Monday, 6 February 2017

The 3 key benefits of leaving the distracted masses and joining the focused few

In the third last paragraph of this wonderful book Cal Newport says "To leave the distracted masses to join the focused few, I'm arguing, is a transformative experience."

Cal won the argument with me. Studying and applying this book has for me been transformative.

Early in this book Cal says: "A deep life is a good life." I agree.

For me the quest to live a deeper life began 5 years ago when I set a goal to travel for business less, and to do meaningful work with less clients while working from home, or being with people no more than an hour and half from my home.

My journey experienced a high note while working with two of my mentors who recommended the book 'Essentialism' This book articulates the concept of 'less but better.'

Integrating 'less but better' into my personal and business life helped me to do more valuable work with my clients.

Integrating 'Deep Work', in my own best way, has enabled me to increase my value even more.

"Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate."

"Shallow Work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world, and are easy to replicate."

3 key benefits of doing deep work and less shallow work

1) More time and energy to do meaningful work that's rare and highly valued by other people.

2) Less distraction and therefore more joy in the moment.

3) A new and vital understanding of attention and that our brains construct our worldview based on what we pay attention to.

What I witness in most workplaces is that many people are distracted more often than not. (the misuse and abuse of smart phones and email, and addiction to social media are three key ways we get distracted).

Distraction means that the most valuable work is not getting done.

A consequence is that value required is not being consistently delivered.

It follows therefore that the value of the business is far less than it should be.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

"A commitment to deep work is not a moral stance and it's not a philosophical statement - it is instead a pragmatic recognition that the ability to concentrate is a skill that gets valuable things done."
Cal Newport