Monday, 30 April 2012

8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses from Geoffrey James

For this weeks sparkenation I couldn't go past this great article by Geoffrey James - 8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses.

Become such a leader!

You can read all of this years sparkenations here.



Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian
I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

Presentations that solve your problems.

The Changing What's Normal Tribe - Candid conversations monthly online. Exclusive 24/7 access to remarkable personal, relationship and organisational change resources.

Change programs that fulfill their purpose and promise

Changing what's normal master-mind groups that guarantee you succeed in the change/s you lead



Thursday, 26 April 2012

Mentor or master-mind group? guest post by Andrew Bryant

This is in part a guest post from my friend and colleague Andrew Bryant.

Andrew and myself are soon to co-lead a changing what's normal master-mind group for leaders in Asia.  We will be meeting in Singapore.

Andrew says:

If there is a correlation between having a mentor and success then not having one can seriously jeopardize your career. In my previous post on self-motivation I talked about the ‘heroes jouney’ and how hollywood depicts the meeting with the ‘wise guide’ who helps the hero on his or her quest (think Obe Wan for Luke or Morpheus for Neo). Mentors take many forms and you may have more than one or receive your mentoring from a ‘mastermind group’ as described by Napolean Hill in his timeless book, "Think and Grow Rich.”

The ideal mentor is someone who has been where you are going and is interested and capable to develop you. The effective mentor doesn’t do the work for the hero (mentee) but asks questions that the mentee doesn’t ask themselves but ought to.

The ideal mentee (hero or heroine) is committed to their quest (career), hungry to learn and disciplined enough to execute what they have learned. If this describes you and you don’t currently have a mentor or belong to a mastermind group, what do you do?

Tim Ferris, in his book the 4-hour work week, suggests that you contact the person you most respect and just ask them. This is a good suggestion.  An equally good suggestion is to join a professionally lead mastermind group.
___________________________________________________________________________________

For my thoughts on mentoring please go here.

As I said at the start of this post Andrew and myself are soon to co-lead a changing what's normal master-mind group in Singapore.  To find out more please take 3 minutes to view the slideshare below and then go here for the detail.  Then get in touch with Andrew or myself to secure your place.


Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian

PS Changing What's Normal Master-mind groups also happening soon in Adelaide, Dubai, Geelong, Manchester, Melbourne, Sydney. They can happen anywhere. Please get in touch with me to find out more.



Monday, 23 April 2012

Where are you hanging out even though you perceive there is no value in doing so?

I never quite got the hang of Facebook. I joined initially because everyone else was and so I thought there might be something in it.  I gave a lot of value I think.  Return on investment of time and energy (admittedly I didn’t spend a lot of either) zilch, zero, nothing. LinkedIn on the other hand very glad to belong and contribute.

No one from Facebook has ever contacted me to ask me what I want.  LinkedIn has.

No one from Apple has ever contacted me either.  Apple produces cool, user friendly products though so I don’t mind as much. I have decided there is nothing cool about Facebook for me. They are a perfect example I think of a company trying to be all things to all people. And of course without revenue from advertising Facebook is dead.

Are people getting a return on their advertising?  I haven’t heard any compelling stories, certainly none I believe.  How about you?

I am not interested in serving a mass market, being a part of one, or trying to find people who would value my services amongst 800+ million people!  Too hard.

I also personally got tired of the clumsy design, non user friendliness, dodgy privacy policies. I left Facebook at 9.34 am on 21st April 2012 yet I am still not sure that I actually left seeing reactivation is so easy.

I know folk who organise their social lives via Facebook, and stay in touch with their family and friends.  Fair enough. I just couldn’t get into that.  I prefer to call and visit with my friends and family as well as using other forms of technology such as Skype and Google+ hangout to stay in touch with people.

I have heard some appalling stories of people who posted stuff on Facebook soon to discover that a whole lot of people knew something the originator didn’t want them to know and that they have told every person and his dog via Facebook.  Naive behavior from the originator? Yep.  Rumour, gossip and innuendo though are not things I want to be involved in.

Doubt I will come back to Facebook.  Oblivion I suspect is where Facebook is headed unless it evolves into something more relevant and meaningful for the world.

I would be interested to know your thoughts and actions, not just about Facebook, also other places where you are hanging out even though you perceive there is no value in doing so? 
Please email me or comment.

I might be making a mistake.  I won’t be missing the zillions of inane and pointless comments, useless updates, and requests from people I have never heard of or have any kind of meaningful relationship with.

An interesting aside is what if Facebook buys BranchOut a social network app that currently operates with Facebook and could be seen as a competitor to LinkedIn.  I personally have not enjoyed BranchOut either and even if Facebook did buy them I am not sure they have the nous to take on LinkedIn who I think have niched very well. I could be wrong about this too!  Whatever happens I am sure I am going to enjoy a Facebook free world.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.







Friday, 20 April 2012

When to go with and when to stop the flow

For sometime now I have been sharing a weekly sparkenation here and other places.


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal.


This week I shared the following and received a lot of emails asking for my thoughts on how, which is what this blog is all about.

How skillful are you are letting go when you need to and being persistent when you need to be?

"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins - not through strength, but through persistence."
Buddhist saying

How persistent are you?

More however: do you know the difference between persistence and stubbornness or futility?

There are situations where we simply need to turn off our persistence tap and move on. There are situations where we need to keep at it.

How good are you at letting go when you need to and keeping on going when you need to?

Knowing when to quit and when to keep going is a critical skill for success and it requires acute self-awareness and a deep understanding of the intentions and commitment levels of other people.

The how from my perspective (In brief that is. There is a book in this!)

5 aspects of acute self-awareness

#1. Compete with yourself.
You are 100% responsible for your intentions, feelings, thoughts and actions.

If your life is not how you want it to be, modify or change your intentions, feelings, thoughts and actions. Sometimes we need to change all four! As a general rule feeling change follows intention change and thinking change follows feeling change. Actions follow.

#2. Collaborate
You are not in any way responsible for other people’s intentions, feelings, thoughts and actions. Get over it if you have negative feelings or thoughts about what people do or don’t do.

Only collaborate with people when you are certain of a shared-view with them about where you’re going, why you’re going there, how you will get there, and who will do what and when.

Collaboration is all about relationships. You are only accountable for your side of any relationship. To better a relationship change or modify your contact, connection, common ground and commitment with the person or people. If your modifications or change do not result in a continuity of the relationship, move on. Life’s too short.


#3. Close your knowing-do gaps
Zen wisdom popularised by Stephen Covey says: “To know and not to do is really not to know.”

Make a list of the crucial things you know about life and business. Be brutally honest with yourself about the gap between what you know and what you are doing and get about making changes so that the gap is as narrow as you can possibly make it.

#4. Identify and enhance your gifts
You are unique just like everybody else! Identify your talents/gifts and start enhancing them through doing your own work, engaging mentors and belonging to groups that will enhance your specialness.

#5. Stop trying to be all things to all people
“Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.” says Steve Farber which I think is brilliant advice. Success is about knowing your niche or micro niche and being remarkable at delivering the value to people in your niche or micro niche that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve.

3 aspects of knowing when to quit and when to keep going

#1. Only have expectations of yourself, never of other people
When I stopped having expectations of other people disappointment disappeared from my life.

When I fail to meet expectations of myself I have only got my myself to blame which spurs me on to have high expectations of myself and to meet them so that I don’t have to feel bad about myself.

#2. Give up attachment to people and things
If you were stripped of all your possessions and people in your life who would be be? Love that person. Let go of all attachment. It is perhaps the most freeing up action we can take. Focus on being who you truly are and bringing that person to everything you do. You will be rewarded. You won’t need to be however because you will have discovered a great truth that being happy is about giving far more than it is about receiving.

#3. Focus on shared-view (agreement)
A shared-view with others, both in your personal and business lives, about where you’re going, why you’re going there, how you will get there, and who will do what and when is a sign to continue to go with the flow.

When there is an absence of shared-view about where you’re going, why you’re going there, how you will get there, and who will do what and when, maybe it’s time to quit and move on!

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

Presentations that solve your problems.

Resources that enable you to make your life simpler.

Change programs that fulfill their purpose and promise

Changing what's normal master-mind groups that guarantee you succeed in the change/s you lead



Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Manage risk by being a leader in recognition

Talk about risk management is on the increase. I heard it for the fourth time this week at a function this morning.

As I say when I hear talk about risk: Manage risk by being a leader in recognition!

Recognise:

People when they do well.
The little things that are making the big difference.
Problem solving as a great opportunity for innovation rather than solving the problem which usually means returning to the status quo.
All challenges are opportunities.
Mistakes are a great way to learn and evolve.
People's intentions particularly when they are followed through with action.
People when they are accountable.
Authenticity.
Candor.
Transparency.
Vulnerability.
Trustworthiness.
Generosity.
Discomfort. Usually discomfort is a sign something is not quite right for you and therefore an opportunity to change what's normal.

What would you add to the list?

The more we recognise things that really matter, the less we need to manage risk.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

Changing what's normal master-mind groups that guarantee you succeed in the change/s you lead

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!



Monday, 16 April 2012

How skillful are you are letting go when you need to and being persistent when you need to be?

"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins - not through strength, but through persistence."
Buddhist saying

How persistent are you?

More however: do you know the difference between persistence and stubbornness or futility?

There are situations we simply need to turn off our persistence tap and move on. There are situations where we need to keep at it.

How good are you at letting go when you need to and keeping on going when you need to?

Knowing when to quit and when to keep going is a critical skill for success and it requires acute self-awareness and a deep understanding of the intentions and commitment levels of other people.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

Changing what's normal master-mind groups that guarantee you succeed in the change/s you lead

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!



Friday, 13 April 2012

7 key solutions to ensuring less problems

An interesting conundrum in business is that confusing people with problems is a slippery slope to worse performance and yet people are causing all your problems!

Here a 7 key solutions to ensuring less problems:

1) Only recruit people who can demonstrate that they live your values in their own way

2) Identify the unique gifts or talents of all your employees

3) Invest a lot of time, energy, passion and money in enhancing your employees gifts or talents

4) Continually ensure that the performance gap between you as the leader and your direct reports is as narrow as possible

5) Build bridges whenever you see divides amongst your stakeholders

6) Tear down any perceived or real walls separating your stakeholders

7) Tell and share a compelling story as often as you can about why you’re going where your going

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.



Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Mind the Gap: From Either/or to Both/And - guest post by Wendy Appel



This is a guest post by Wendy Appel.

I highly recommend Wendy's recently released book -



InsideOut Enneagram: The Game-Changing Guide for Leaders.

InsideOut provides a set of tools to turn complex theories of personality into practice with case studies, exercises and practices. This book was written with leaders, managers, coaches, consultants, and counselors in mind. InsideOut is also meant for those who want to augment strength, courage, and success, and who may take a lead in the future.

Mind the Gap: From Either/or to Both/And - by Wendy Appel

A few weeks ago, Ian Berry honored me by asking that I co-host his Willability webinar on “Both/And.” In preparation for our conversation, I went for a hike to clarify my thinking.

As I began to explore Both/And, I realized that unpacking the significance of these two juxtaposed words was not as easy as it seemed at first blush. There was the “either/or” vs “both/and” path to take, the “managing polarities” path, I could put it in the context of decision-making, descriptive (wealthy or poor), inner polarities (confident/insecure), shifting perspectives, simplistic and false binary choices, problem-solving, dilemmas, and on and on … whew!

Ultimately I decided that a picture was worth 1000 words. Here are three that make the point.




Are there 3 or 4? Is the woman young or old? Is it a vase or the profiles of two people? Is light made up of particles or is light a wave? Both/and. Are you willing to see both—to see beyond what you want to see.

Pay attention to, “I don’t see it vs. it’s not there.” It’s not there creates amazing resistance because you are denying someone else’s reality. (Barry Johnson: Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems)

Both/And not about right or wrong. I can easily argue opposing points of view. A watershed moment in my both/and history was in grammar school; probably about 4th or 5th grade. Our class went on a field trip to the courthouse. We were given a court case—a situation—and I was selected to represent a point of view I disagreed with.

I almost clutched, but somehow in that moment, the 10-year old in me was able to argue the other side rather effectively, much to my surprise and delight. I can still remember where I was sitting and how I had stunned myself. The lesson I learned in that pivotal experience is still with me today.

From a distance, things can seem pretty black and white (either/or) and polarizing. Close up, life is a lot messier. Decisions and choices have a context and extenuating circumstances that can appear immaterial until you zoom in the lens. This distance, which some like to think of as objectivity, actually more often than not takes the form of judgment and lacks objectivity because we don’t have enough information to be objective.

Judgment creates distance between you and I. What if we both have valid perspectives and points of view? How do we bridge the gap and recognize that both are true?

Curiosity is the bridge and it can take you to compassion and never before explored or visited worlds. Am I wiling …? Because that’s what it takes. Try to understand before looking for areas of disagreement AND seek to understand before being understood.

Up close, we have an opportunity to see situations and people more holistically. Then it is time to pull back the lens again and to move into a more objective place, once we understand the situation from another’s viewpoint and context.

To inquire into, see and acknowledge another’s point of view doesn’t mean agreement. It just demonstrates that we are willing to learn, have a desire to understand and are open to influence. It is also a way to offer respect to the other.

Let’s raise the bar of the conversation.

Find out more about Wendy and her great work here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.



Monday, 9 April 2012

Compete with yourself

This weeks sparkenation.

"You have the infinite capacity to do anything you want.
You compare yourself to others - that's why you feel so limited."
Kensho Furuya, Aikido master

Stop comparing yourself with others. Only compete with yourself.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change programs.



Thursday, 5 April 2012

Is candor the new competitive edge?

I have been working and meeting people in Dubai in the past two weeks. I enjoyed the people from many diverse places of birth immensely, particularly their candor - “the quality of being open and honest.”

Is candor the new competitive edge? My answer is candor is definitely a key component of competitive advantage.

Like you, I suspect, I am sick and tired of spin, BS, and double talk. I embrace candor with vigour and enthusiasm. My approach is reciprocated. The rewards are massive.

Here are 21 ways you can be candid. Embrace them in your own way and possibilities you only now dream about will become reality.

#1. Be yourself
As Oscar Wilde famously observed: ““Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

#2. Be transparent and willing to be vulnerable.

#3. Get very, very, very good at communicating what you really mean.

#4. Stop trying to please everyone. Instead do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.

#5. Seize each moment not just each day. A great lesson of life is that we can mess up a moment and immediately in the next moment do better.

#6. Call the shot on people who blame and shame.

#7. Stop making excuses and be accountable,

#8. Appreciate people when they do well and help others to be accountable.

There is a great technique in the vault section of the Changing What’s Normal site.
Go here and scroll down to Sparkenation 47 and download the Appreciation and Accountability technique and start using it today.

#9. Listen with your eyes and your heart and let people know you truly heard them before you share what is on your mind.

#10. Speak your mind only after you have shared from your heart.

#11. Ask for the business or for action. The answer is always no when you fail to ask.

#12. Take full responsibility for your intentions, feelings, thoughts and actions.
Take no responsibility for other people’s intentions, feelings. thoughts and actions.

#13. Be 100% present or leave the room. As Nigel Risner says: “When you’re in the room, be in the room."

#14. If you find yourself taking offence to what others do or don’t do, get over it. You are not responsible for what other people do or don’t do.

#15. If for whatever reason you can’t keep a promise, be honest and upfront about why and tell people.

#16. Changing your mind is your prerogative. Explain truthfully why you have changed your mind and people will embrace you. If they don’t S.U.M.O (Shut Up Move On).

#17. S.U.M.O is a great concept from best selling author Paul McGee. S.U.M.O often.

#18. No and no thank you can be just as empowering as Please and Thank You. Say No and no thank as often as you say the other two.

#19. Do what you fear. “A life lived in fear, is a life half lived.”

#20. Call the shot on people when you feel they are spinning BS to you.

#21. Take the BS Detector Pulse Check here.
You just might be staggered by what it tells and shows you.

As soon as you take this pulse check you will be able to download by ebook 52 actions of the wise. Take an action every week and you will become more candid and stand out from the crowd who are conspicuous by their silence and inaction.

You will also receive a complimentary analysis that will help you as you do your work.

Be the difference you what to see in the world.

Ian

PS A warning. Never confuse people with problems.

PSS Two more ways to becoming more candid.


#1. Engage me as your mentor

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart,

and plays it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”


I am this kind of friend to a few people each year.

#2. Join a Changing What’s Normal Master-Mind group.



Monday, 2 April 2012

A key to leadership success is giving people massive freedom within clearly defined boundaries

This weeks sparkenation.

When working with people of all ages consider very carefully the following great paradox and take appropriate action:

Give people massive freedom to do their own thing within very clearly defined boundaries.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

I work with leaders to conceive and implement highly successful change programs.

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!