Monday, 30 September 2013

Do your love your work?

Make a note in your diary for last thing before you leave your workplace this Friday to ask yourself, Do I love my work? Ponder over the weekend. When you return to work stop doing what you don't love to do or modify/change what you do so that you can love it.

Next Monday after you have really committed to the above visit with all your colleagues and ask them, Do you love your work? Spend the majority of next week helping your colleagues to remove all the barriers they feel are stopping them from loving their work.

Do the above. Don't think about. Do it. It will make a big difference to your life and work and that of your colleagues.

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

Sunday, 29 September 2013

What are you loved for?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

This week do more of what you are loved for. And do it in the service of people who love it.

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”
French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947

"Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do"
Steven Farber in The Radical Leap

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

More sparkenations.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Are you telling and sharing good news stories often?

All great leaders share good news stories. How many have you shared this week?

Good news stories are hard to find in newspapers, on television, in magazines, on social media. You can easily find the negative. Bad news dominate or so it seems.

Everyday we human beings are doing good and remarkable things worthy of sharing. We each have a responsibility in my view as leaders to share the good news. I am not talking about sugar coating or fluff just the great things we humans do that really matter.

The reality is the good we do is far exceeding the bad and yet the focus of media seems to be on the bad. I can't recall for examples a news bulletin beginning with a good news story.

Be a person who shares good news. Be one who shares stories about the goodness of humanity.

The following story came via email from my mother-in-law who believes this kind of story should be shared. Is it true? I don't know. Does it matter if it is or not? I have heard thousands of stories like this. And the great blessing of human life is that you and I are living stories like this. We just need to share them more.


"When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighbourhood .... I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.

My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbour. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. "Information, please" I said into the mouthpiece just above my head.

A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.

"Information."

"I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.

"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.

"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.

"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.

"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."
"Can you open the icebox?" she asked.

I said I could.

"Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice...

After that, I called "Information Please" for everything.. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math.

She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts..

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died.. I called, “Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, " Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in."

Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please."

"Information," said in the now familiar voice. "How do I spell fix?" I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest . When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much.

"Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.

Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little
boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle .. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then
without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.

"Information."

I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying,  "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."

I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"

I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me.

I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

"Please do", she said. "Just ask for Sally."

Three months later I was back in Seattle ..  A different voice answered,

"Information." I asked for Sally.

"Are you a friend?" she said.

"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this,"She said. "Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."

Before I could hang up, she said, "Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?"

"Yes." I answered.

"Well, Sally left a message for you.  She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you."

The note said, "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you may make on others..

Whose life have you touched today?

Why not pass this on? I just did.....

Lifting you on eagle's wings.
May you find the joy and peace you long for.

Life is a journey... NOT a guided tour."

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

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Ten keys to getting high performing teams - guest post by Mike Lowe



This is a guest post from Mike Lowe my colleague, accredited mentor of the Enhancing Their Gifts System and an Elder with the Talent Enhancers Tribe.

Please visit Mike's blog for his further posts on this topic.

This is the first of a series of ten blog posts where I will expand on each of the ten keys to high performing teams that I have identified.  Watch out for future posts over the coming weeks.  But first off, here are the Ten Keys to High Performing Teams:

1. Make sure you have the right people in the right jobs

Recruit on personality and values more than skills and experience. Unless you are recruiting brain surgeons or airline pilots, in most jobs the cost of training someone is far less than the cost of employing someone who isn’t a fit. Tools like Talent Dynamics can help identify the right person for a role.

2. Crystal clarity on responsibilities and what is expected

There’s a big difference between having a job description and having crystal clarity in your own head about what is expected of you and what you are ultimately responsible for.

3. Align personal goals with organisational goals

Most people don’t care much about the organisational goals, relative to their own personal goals.

4. Personal warm relationships

You are much more likely to work hard and go the extra mile for people you care about. You are much more likely to let down people you don’t care about.

5. Catching people doing things right

Low self-esteem is toxic to motivation. Yet too many managers only notice you when they catch you doing something wrong. Recognition is amazingly powerful as a motivator.

6. Daily feedback/accountability conversations

We are hard-wired to work towards goals and we want to know how we are tracking towards those goals. All the research on performance shows that the more instant the feedback the more motivated we are.

7. Value individuality, diversity, unique gifts

We are each one-of-a-kind unique individuals who think differently, yet in many workplaces we feel we have to leave our individuality at home and conform. Embracing diversity and individuality encourages people to bring more of themselves to work.  It encourages creativity and higher engagement.

8. Constructive (not destructive) handling of conflict

Conflict is inevitable and can be a source of growth and creativity. But when people don’t know how to handle conflict constructively it can lead to toxic mistrust and people feeling unsafe, judged and bullied – all of which kills motivation.

9. Conducive working environment

The interaction between the environment and the subconscious is powerful. Different spaces and colours are conducive to different tasks, such as focused concentration, creativity, analysis, meetings etc.

10. Identify and overcome dysfunctional habits (eg procrastination)

Dysfunctional habits such as procrastination have deep roots. It takes a combination of structural adjustments (such as Dave Allens GTD system) and psychological insight. Toxic Shame is a core issue for many people which keeps them from reaching their true potential through addictive or self-destructive behaviour.

Please visit Mike's blog for his further posts on this topic.

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

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Can you say what you need to in 6 words?

I am a great fan of the folk at six word memoirs.

They are currently running a festival on Twitter you may like to participate in.

I have helped many of my clients to revolutionise buy-in to strategy by helping them to create 6 word strategy statements with employees.

In my Changing What’s Normal book one of my 58 sparkenations is about this. To get my book with my compliments simply complete the Valued, Fulfilled, Loved Performance Possibility Pulse Check or the Discovering Your Life's Work Pulse Check.

Here are three of my own 6 word statements.

"Rolls-royce relationships lead to rolls-royce buyers.

BS free relationships guarantee greater results.

Treat people as people. Results follow."


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

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Do your employees feel like they are part of a family at your workplace?

Employees feeling like they are part of a family in the workplace is a winning factor in every successful business I have worked with.

Family, the winning factor a blog post by Kevin Roberts shares some great insights.

I have written about this too in my Valued, Fulfilled and Loved White Paper.  If you would like a copy please email me ian@changingwhatsnormal.com

Do your employees feel like they are part of a family at your workplace?

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

Monday, 23 September 2013

BS Free workplaces - a personal manifesto by Ian Berry

Following a number of keynote/plenary session presentations I have given at conferences recently I have also been on panels with fellow speakers. The audiences have been very diverse and yet a common question that has been asked in all manner of ways is “With all the focus on employee engagement why is actually engaging employees still a challenge for most organisations?” 

I have given seven answers to the question which are contained in a special report. If you would like a copy please email ian@changingwhatsnormal.com In addition as a result of reflection on my own and other people’s answers my personal manifesto has evolved.

BS Free workplaces - a personal manifesto by Ian Berry

The greatest nonsense, the biggest load of codswallop, the BS that is permeating most workplaces is seeing and treating humans as numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets, or capital. 

My reason for being is to change this because we are none of these things. We are, every single one of us, a one-of-a-kind human being. When we are treated as such we respond in remarkable ways.

Creating workplaces free of BS is often hard, emotionally draining, exhausting work. We encounter self-serving, greedy and as yet unenlightened folk who think life is all about them. We run into fear, mediocrity and massive resistance.

For these reasons I can’t say I have loved every minute of my work since I began my quest in 1991. What I do love, with an abiding passion, is the results. I particularly love the defining moments I observe every week, often unexpected, usually a surprise to the person, when their light goes on and someone is finally home.

There is nothing on earth as magnificent as a human being fully alive. 

When we remove BS, people come alive.

In workplaces where people have come alive:
People feel valued, fulfilled, and loved.
Values are lived.
Value as perceived by others is delivered to all stakeholders including our planet.
Numbers are seen for what they are, results, not reasons.

Every business should make a profit. There is nothing evil about money. How we make it and what we do with it is what matters. Profit is not a reason though for being in business, rather a result of being good at business. Our reason for being in business is about how we have personally chosen to serve humanity.

The trouble with BS about people is that we have become used to counting the wrong things. Millions of people feeling that they don’t count is the sad consequence. 

At the heart of all the world’s troubles is seeing people as things, as means to an end, rather than beings who can take us far beyond our wildest dreams.

I am in the business of increasing profits without hurting people or our planet. Will you join me? 

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

To get your copy of the special report 7 fool-proof actions that guarantee employee engagement please email me ian@changingwhatsnormal.com

Sunday, 22 September 2013

What advice that you received as a child haven't you followed that you should?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

More than likely most of us were given good advice by our parents or grandparents and haven't yet followed it. What advice that you received as a child haven't you yet followed that you should?

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
John Lennon

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

More sparkenations.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Great insights into collaboration from Brad Krauskopf

It is always great to see colleagues collaborate and this interview with Brad Krauskopf CEO and Founder of Hub Australia, who was recently named Small Business Ambassador of Australia, by Andrew O'Brien and Geoff McDonald provides great insights into how to collaborate.



More great podcasts from Geoff McDonald.

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

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Followers need to be just as accountable as leaders

This 18 minutes by my colleague Colin James is the best I have seen on the subject of followership.




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

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Seventh of seven fool-proof actions that guarantee increased employees engagement







The premise that must precede the actions

People are not numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets or capital. These are all a false premises that lead to less than possible results. We are all flesh and blood, alive human beings with needs, want, fears and aspirations. Any actions to increase employee engagement must be preceded by seeing and treating people as people.

Action number seven - Discover and maintain a shared-view about where, why, how, who, what, and when

“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
and How and Where and Who.”
Rudyard Kipling

I believe we need to take Kipling’s words to heart and then take massive action.

I have found that foundational to all success in organisations and foundational to all the actions I have explored in this series of posts is a shared-view about:

where we are (reality)
where we're going (possibility)
why we're going there (purpose)
how we will get there (strategy)
who will do what and when (execution)
how we will know we are on track (milestones and lead measures)
how we will behave along the way (values)

It is easy to live in an either/or yours/mine world.


The reality is we can, if we choose to, live in three worlds, yours, mine, and ours.


Our world is the most powerful. Some writers have called it the third way. I believe ours is the relationship harmony point, the glue if you will, that binds us together as life partners, families, communities/tribes, teams, clubs, cities, towns, villages, and the great opportunity - our whole world.

Discovering and maintaining shared-view requires an honouring of yours and mine and a willingness to not be precious about either, rather to embrace both, and then to co-create ours which transcends yours and mine.

Summary and action

Honour everyone else’s way. Be confident in your own way.
Transcend both and find a way together.

If you would like inspiration and support with this please consider my complimentary Monday Morning Mentoring offer and then contact me.

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

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Sixth of seven fool-proof actions that guarantee increased employees engagement






The premise that must precede the actions

People are not numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets or capital. These are all a false premises that lead to less than possible results. We are all flesh and blood, alive human beings with needs, want, fears and aspirations. Any actions to increase employee engagement must be preceded by seeing and treating people as people.

Action number six - compete with yourself/collaborate with everyone else

A key stand alone action that guarantees increased employee engagement is to compete with yourself and collaborate with everyone else. Of course combine this with the other 6 actions I am covering in this series of posts and you will have co-created an unstoppable force for good in your organisation.

Achieving want we want personally is very simple, align intention, emotions, thoughts and actions. In whatever areas of your life you are not achieving what you want, write down the outcome you desire, and then modify or change intention (why you want to achieve what you do), emotions (your feelings around this), thoughts (the state of your thinking around what you want) and actions (behaviours/steps that will lead you to what you want)

To improve your ability and willingness to collaborate choose any relationship you want to be better and then modify or change how you contact, connect, discover common ground (a shared-view of the way forward) and demonstrate commitment with the person or people you want to collaborate with.

Summary and action

Focus on bettering the person you looked at in the mirror this morning.
Seek to collaborate with everyone else.

If you would like the link to the private compete/collaborate video that is part of my Enhancing Their Gifts System and a copy of the compete/collaborate section of my Changing What’s Normal book please email me ian@changingwhatsnormal.com

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

Monday, 16 September 2013

Fifth of seven fool-proof actions that guarantee increased employee engagement





The premise that must precede the actions

People are not numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets or capital. These are all a false premises that lead to less than possible results. We are all flesh and blood, alive human beings with needs, want, fears and aspirations. Any actions to increase employee engagement must be preceded by seeing and treating people as people.

Action number five - Be tough on problems, tender with people

An injustice is occurring in many workplaces today - people are seen as the problem. People are not your problem. People’s intentions, feelings, thinking, and behaviour are your challenge and also your great opportunity. 

Behaviour follows our thinking, feeling and intent. What your people are doing or not doing is why your results are what they are, good, bad, indifferent, what you want, or not what you want. 

Your only competitive advantage lies in what your people do that is different, better, or more unique than what what your competitors people are doing. Confusing what people do or don’t do with them as people though is a slippery slope to poor performance. If you want people to do better, differently or more uniquely, work with them to modify or change their intentions, feelings and thinking, and then their behaviour.

My wife and I recently brought our 5th puppy home. It’s been 15 years since we’ve had a pup run a muck in our home! Confusing what Molly does, particularly when it’s bad, with who she is though we know is the challenge we must overcome. 

We praise Molly with great enthusiasm when she does what we need her to do. We carefully reward her for good behaviour. She is learning very quickly. She knows we love her even when she doesn’t behave how we need her to.

We humans are no different when it comes to tasks. We respond in kind to enthusiasm and rewards when we do well. Of course we are motivated by deeper things, purpose, autonomy and mastery for example as Daniel Pink and others have beautifully demonstrated. The more the pursuit of these deeper things is enabled the more we behave at our best, and therefore the less negative problems we create.

Summary and action

If you want less negative problems in your workplace co-create with your people a culture where meaning is paramount and pursued with vigour.

When problems surface be careful to isolate the intention, feeling, thinking or behaviour from the person. Be tough on these yet tender with the person. The I’ve Got A Problem technique is a great way to do this. If you would like a copy of it please email me ian@changingwhatsnormal.com 

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

Sunday, 15 September 2013

How will you change what's normal (innovate) this week or at least begin the actions that will lead to innovation?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

While I like this from Harvey Firestone:
"Capital isn't so important in business. Experience isn't so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn't any limit to what you can do with your business and your life."

our real asset is an idea implemented i.e. innovation, which by definition means to change what's normal.

The journey often looks like this: We turn information into insight which becomes inspiration which becomes an idea. Our work is then to turn the idea into innovation.

How will you change what's normal (innovate) this week or at least begin the actions that will lead to innovation?

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

More sparkenations here.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Fourth of seven fool-proof actions that guarantee increased employee engagement




The premise that must precede the actions

People are not numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets or capital. These are all a false premises that lead to less than possible results. We are all flesh and blood, alive human beings with needs, want, fears and aspirations. Any actions to increase employee engagement must be preceded by seeing and treating people as people.

Action number four - frequently celebrate what’s working and what’s not, particularly mistakes and failure.

I notice plenty of celebration in organisationals when goals are achieved or exceeded. I don’t notice so much celebration of milestones along the way or of the daily actions that all together lead to what we want. I notice even less the celebration of mistakes and failure which is often when the most valuable learning can occur.

Summary and action

Celebrate what’s working and what’s not including mistakes and failure every single day. Summarize it all at least every 90 days. If you would like a copy of a form I use for this please email ian@changingwhatsnormal.com

Use stories to share your celebrations with others.

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

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Third of seven fool-proof actions that guarantee increased employee engagement



The premise that must precede the actions

People are not numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets or capital. These are all a false premises that lead to less than possible results. We are all flesh and blood, alive human beings with needs, want, fears and aspirations. Any actions to increase employee engagement must be preceded by seeing and treating people as people.

Action number three - ensure conversations using 90 day plans (PPPs) are integral to daily life and work.

What I witness over and over is that most conversations about performance in the workplace focus on what’s not working more than they focus on what is working. 

Sure we need to have conversations about both. The more conversations we have about what is working however, the greater the likelihood of performance improvement.

When I first work with people on this I teach them two principles and one technique to get them started.

The two principles are asking more questions, giving less answers and sending stars, never black holes. The technique is about having appreciation and accountability conversations using the two principles.

Asking more questions, giving less answers

I love observing real leaders. When people ask them what to do they ask what do you think you should do?


Sending stars, never black holes

In the early 90’s I taught Peter Marshman’s Communication Magic program to hundreds of people. A key to the success of the program was teaching to send stars never back holes in both sending and receiving messages. 

Typically stars are messages that promote high self esteem of receivers and the 
likelihood of personal best performance.

Examples are enthusiastic greetings, smiles, recognition of effort and achievements, compliments, being included, putting ourselves out for others, asking someone else for advice, showing genuine interest

Typically black holes are messages that mean a likely drop in self esteem and the corresponding drop in personal performance. 

Examples are not saying hello or greeting people as though they barely exist, not saying thank you or not recognising other peopleʼs efforts, claiming the credit for someone elseʼs work, ignoring or excluding people, putting people down, criticism as opposed to constructive critique or feedforward, thinking our way is the only way and demonstrating this in our behaviour, having a closed mind

People must be empowered to deal with black holing or other inappropriate behaviour by responding to poor sending with the statement “I think thatʼs a black hole”

Conversely it is strongly encouraged that star behaviour be complimented with words such as “thanks for the star”, Thank You. You are a star” 

Appreciation and accountability conversations using these principles

The Double A Technique

Ask: How are things going?

When you get a positive response:
Ask: How does that make you feel?
(be quiet and pay attention)
Then say, Great, Brilliant or whatever is appropriate.
Then ask: Any other areas I can help you with?
(be quiet and pay attention)

When you get a negative response
Ask: What happened? (be quiet and pay attention)
Then Ask: What do you need to do to get back on track?
(be quiet and pay attention)
Then Ask: Is there anything I can do to help you?
(be quiet and pay attention)
Finally, Ask: Anything else?
(be quiet and pay attention)

When the above technique is used with the PPP as the focusing point people feel better about themselves and become more accountable.

Summary and action

Use your own and other people’s 90 day performance possibility plan (PPP) to focus conversations about performance. This means you are having conversations about standards of performance and behaviour previously agreed to.

Ask more questions, give less answers.

Send stars, never black holes.


Focus on appreciation and accountability conversations. 

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

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

7 fool-proof actions that guarantee increased employee engagement - part two

Action number one - help people achieve what is important to them.

The premise that must precede the actions

People are not numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets or capital. These are all a false premises that lead to less than possible results. We are all flesh and blood, alive human beings with needs, want, fears and aspirations. Any actions to increase employee engagement must be preceded by seeing and treating people as people.

Action number two - help people to write down their personal and organisational goals and how they will achieve them

When our goals and how we will achieve them are not written down focus on them is less likely, and therefore achievement unlikely. A key is bit-sized-chunks.

I strongly recommend 90 day goal achievement plans always created with the long term in mind.

I have my personal and business goals and how I will achieve them written down for the next 20 years. I also have some notes about my dreams beyond that! I have worked back from there to this year. I have written down daily, weekly, twice-monthly, monthly, and quarterly rituals. I know that in fulfilling these rituals achieving my goals is almost an automatic consequence. The key though is my personal and business performance possibility plan (PPP) for the next 90 days.

If you would like a copy of my one page rituals document and my current PPP please email me ian@changingwhatsnormal.com and I will send them to you.

Personal and business on the one page is vital. Not one or the other, rather both together. They are two-sides of the same coin and should not be viewed in isolation. It is not life or work. It is life and work, and at the same time.

As a pioneer in the creation of one page plans, beginning more than two decades ago, I know their power. In helping thousands of people all over the world to create PPPs a standout component that is critical to success is enhancing of a gift/talent each 90 days.

There is a lot of art and science to creating PPPs and to effectively using them. I will touch on some of the know-how in future posts.

Summary and action

Help your employees to write down their personal and organisational goals and how they will achieve them. Do so yourself first.

I have put everything I have learned and what I know about how this works into the Enhancing Their Gifts System (ETGS). If you want help please get in touch with me and/or get your ETGS users license by joining the Talent Enhancers Tribe at the E3 through E8 levels of membership.

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

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

7 fool-proof actions that guarantee increased employee engagement - part one

The folk at Voice Project have an impressive track record. In a recent blog post they share from their research the great positive effect that increased employee engagement has on profitability.

Employee engagement is an outcome. What really interests me is the actions that lead to the outcome.
7 such actions stand out from my work with more than 500 organisations since 1991. All actions are counter-intuitive and often fly in the face of the status quo.

The premise that must precede the actions

People are not numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets or capital. These are all a false premises that lead to less than possible results. We are all flesh and blood, alive human beings with needs, want, fears and aspirations. Any actions to increase employee engagement must be preceded by seeing and treating people as people.

Fool-proof action number 1 that guarantees increased employee engagement

I find the Platinum Rule a great insight into the power of this first action which is to help people achieve what is important to them.

Platinum Rule creator Dr. Tony Alessandra says:
“We have all heard of the Golden Rule-and many people aspire to live by it. The Golden Rule is not a panacea. Think about it: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Golden Rule implies the basic assumption that other people would like to be treated the way that you would like to be treated.

The alternative to the Golden Rule is the Platinum Rule:
"Treat others the way they want to be treated." Ah hah! What a difference. The Platinum Rule accommodates the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from "this is what I want, so I'll give everyone the same thing" to "let me first understand what they want and then I'll give it to them."

Here is the thing. Your employees don’t care about the goals of your business relative to their own goals and yet in most organisations when we create development plans with employees they are all about the organisation!

In all development plans with your employees focus on both personal and organisational goals. Place initial emphasis on helping people to achieve what is important to them, their personal goals. The great paradox of this approach is that when people genuinely feel we are helping them to achieve their goals they will increase their efforts to help us achieve ours.

Zig Ziglar captured this brilliantly long ago when he said "You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."

Summary and action

Treat people as people, never as numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets or capital.

Help people achieve their personal goals. If you do this genuinely it won’t be long before people are more engaged and increasing their efforts to help you to achieve your goals.

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

PS If you need help with this first action please contact me and/or consider joining the Talent Enhancers Tribe.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Politics shouldn't be theatre and neither should your business

In a TV interview a few days before being elected, New Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott referred to the bitterness between the two major parties as "theatre." In other words they really don't mean all the trash talk that they say about each other, it's just a game.

In his victory speech Abbott said "we are under new management and Australia is again open for business." Is this more theatre!

I accept that sport and other games we play can be theatre. We deserve better from our politicians in my view simply because the decisions they make can affect our lives and livelihoods.

Don't fall for the trap of trash talk or theatre in your business. No spin, rather tell authentic stories. Unlike most politicians we are in business for the long haul not the short. And unlike them there are serious consequences for us when we fail to deliver on our promises to customers/clients.

Politics the world over has become a sick joke in the way of real progress. What we must do is move onwards and upwards regardless of what politicians do or more likely don't do.

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

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Put talent at the heart of everything

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Towards the end of this great clip from his keynote address at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, legendary actor and current Artistic Director of London's Old Vic Theatre, Kevin Spacey makes a statement every business should take to heart “Put talent at the heart of everything.”



At the Talent Enhancers Tribe we believe that the number one role of leadership is to enhance people’s gifts/talents – in yourself and in the people around you.

The Talent Enhancers Tribe is all about helping you to be breathtakingly brilliant in this role.

If this resonates with you Get on Board.

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

More sparkenations here.

Friday, 6 September 2013

"Top of mind isn't the same as close to heart"

My working on my business focus for the past few weeks has been via two books by Bernadette Jiwa.

'The Fortune Cookie Principle' where the fortune is the story, the thing that makes people feel something, and the cookie, the product or service, is full of great case studies and probing questions at the end of each chapter. These questions have really made me think about who I want to work with and what I have to offer them that will really make a difference to them.

This book is full of a great many insights such as "Product - Meaning = Commodity, Product + Meaning = Brand." and my favourite "Top-of-mind isn't the same as close-to-heart."

I highly recommend this book to you. Like me if will help you to clearly define your niche and the reasons people buy which Bernadette defines as:
"it makes them feel ..., they are looking for a short-cut, they want to feel more connected to a group, to belong, it works, it makes their lives easier, it gives them a story to tell, they need a solution to a problem, they like what you stand for, it helps them get from where they are to where they want to be, there friends are doing it too.


I recommend reading Bernadette's first book 'Make Your Idea Matter' before reading 'The Fortune Cookie Principle.'

As I am sure you do, I have a lot of ideas. Reading this book helped me to get really clear on which ideas I want to take to my niche and how to better create the story around my ideas because without a story most ideas go nowhere.

This book came from Bernadette's popular blog The Story of Telling which I also recommend you tap into.


I have added both these books to my recommended reading list.

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

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Bias, BS and Bluster are very bad for business

Perhaps the longest election campaign in history comes to an end in Australia on Saturday.

Three things have stood out for me Bias, BS and Bluster. 

The media, particularly the Murdoch papers, have been totally biased against the government. All sides have spoken so much BS, particularly about budgets, there is a stench in the air. And bluster has been so bad it seems to me the entire population has switched off.

I am not a member of any political party and never will be. All political brands are tarnished.

There are lessons here for business. 
We all stand for something and a key to success in our businesses is the people we want to do business with must know what we stand for. It is easy however for passion to become obsession. It is easy to say things that stretch the truth. It is easy to get on a high horse and confidence gets perceived as arrogance.

Take time out to check everything the story of your business and how it is being told. Quickly remove any bias, BS or bluster because they are very bad for your business.

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

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Why are we reluctant to name the bleeding obvious?

I had the honour of speaking at the Australian Institute of Office Professionals conference yesterday and also was part of a panel with other presenters. I was surprised at the applause given in response to a very short answer I gave to a question about elephants in the room. I said "Name them and humanely remove them from the room."

Why are we reluctant to name the bleeding obvious?

Is it a lack of self-confidence?

Is it a fear of being unpopular?

Are we worried about what other people think?

Part of my answer is in my blog post If you know it speak it. 

The bottom-line is that if we want to change our world we need to be the change we want to see.

If not you then who?

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

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

I Matter - guest post by Gihan Perera

This is a brilliant, humorous yet poignant look at the future already here by my friend and colleague Gihan Perera. Enjoy and take action.


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

Monday, 2 September 2013

Key discoveries I have made about people and talent enhancement - part three

This is the third of three articles about why I believe that helping your employees to feel valued, fulfilled, and loved is the biggest and best thing you can do to grow your business.

Part one Helping your employees to feel loved, you can read it here.

If you would like all three articles in the one paper please download here.

Article three - Helping your employees to feel valued

In every organisation there ought to be a strong, unbreakable bond between values, value and valued. Unfortunately their rarely is.

Most organisations have stated values. Very few are lived. Rarely is there a shared-view around the behaviours that demonstrate your values. Of course if you are the exception rather than the rule you have competitive advantage.

To help your people feel more valued your first step is to agree with them about what your values are. There must be alignment between personal and organisational values. Any disconnect means trouble. The good news is that there are many universal values. The second step is crucial, it’s about reaching a shared view with your people about what behaviours mean you live your values.

With the above as a foundation you can accurately determine and agree on what value must be delivered to all the stakeholders of your organisation. Delivering value to others that they demand, desire and feel that they deserve is fundamental to helping people to feel valued.

Living values and delivering value pave the way for appreciating people which is also fundamental in helping them to feel valued.

The eminent psychologist and philosopher William James famously observed:

"The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated."

There are many simple and common sense actions for expressing your appreciation to your employees. All of them contribute to them feeling more valued. Here are just a few

Catch people doing things right and doing the right thing.
Give people genuine compliments.
Informally and formally celebrate with people what is going well for them.
Always say please and thank you and mean it.
Be courteous and kind.
Share stories about the successes of your people.
Be compassionate.

Many of the statements in the Valued, Fulfilled and Loved Performance Possibility Pulse Check reflect these common sense actions. Have you taken the pulse check yet and seen how well you’re going?

A further simple yet profound way to help people feel valued is to find out what is really important to them and then help them to achieve whatever it is.

The more people feel valued, the more they will deliver value to others, and the more they will live the behaviours of your values. You can see why I say that there ought to be a strong, unbreakable bond between values, value and valued.

Some time ago I wrote Values and value based businesses are on the rise. Is your business on the rise?

Helping your people to feel valued is a key component of the journey. When your people feel fulfilled and loved as well as valued, consistent high performance is a consequence. 

If you would like all three articles about valued, fulfilled and loved in the one paper please download here.

5 possible actions to take

#1. Take the Valued, Fulfilled and Loved Performance Possibility Pulse Check. You just might be staggered by the result it will reveal to you. You download a copy of my Changing What’s Normal book as soon as you press send.

#2. Take up my offer of a complimentary analysis of the results of your pulse check.

#3. Join the Talent Enhancers Tribe. It’s the place on the planet to belong to for everyone passionate about being breathtakingly brilliant at enhancing talent, your number one role as a leader.

#4. Invite me to come and speak at your next conference or special in-house meeting. I promise to stir hearts, shift thinking, and help you to step-up your achievements.

#5. Get your Enhancing Their Gifts System license and implement and embed the system in your organisation with support as you do so online or bespoke and in person with an accredited mentor.

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

Sunday, 1 September 2013

You can’t grow vegetables online

This Sunday’s sparkenation.

It’s the first day of Spring here in the Southern hemisphere. In readiness my wife and I replanted over vegetable garden this week. It got me thinking that most of the great things in life don’t happen online.

How many marketing messages did you get this week and last week and the week before that promising you the inside secrets of building your business online? Heaps right? 

It’s become boring. Most miss the point. Technology is a great enabler, an amplifier, a tool. Humanity is what matters.  

The big key to your success is how you connect with people in the room. You can attract people online, you can use online to help build relationships, you can add value to relationships online. And yes you can sell stuff online. 

What really matters is how you connect in-person, starting at home, in your neighbourhood, in your community, in your workplace, in the wider world.

Have you had your hands in the earth lately?

Be grateful for the gift of the online world. Be especially grateful for the gift of humanity and the earth we call home.

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

“Relevance, simplicity, and humanity-not technology-will distinguish brands in the future.”
Scott Bedbury, former SVP of Marketing at Starbucks and Head of Advertising at Nike, in his book A Brand New World.