Monday, 31 March 2014

The greatest challenge we must all overcome

The greatest challenge facing humanity is outdated thinking and therefore flawed actions.

What do you believe?

Many leaders still see people as cogs in a giant machine for example. I named this BS.

Adding to the toxicity about people are outdated ideas about strategy, change, performance improvement, and leadership and management just to name a few.

What no longer works in your world that you are hanging on to?

Where could you let go the status quo?

My heroes are mavericks – rebels, radicals, dissenters, disrupters, heretics, non-conformists, contrarians, the label doesn’t matter. I admire mavericks who go outside the box and make the world a better place as a consequence. I am particularly passionate about maverick thinking and action that leads to radical transformation of the way we work because much of the way we work, if we are honest, isn’t working.

What do you believe?

Albert Einstein made the following observation:
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”

In a great book ‘The Philosopher and The Wolf’ Mark Rowlands says:
“Humans are the animals that believe the stories they tell about themselves.”

What stories are you telling yourself about yourself?
And are they moving you forward or holding you back?

Everywhere you look there are warnings about the problems that our thinking, and particularly our attachment to our thoughts, can cause us.

Here are some of my favourite insights:

“The only thing that keeps us down and keeps us stuck is our thoughts”
John Kehoe

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Steve Jobs

“To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.”
Susan Sontag

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.”
Henry Ford

“Every faction conditions its members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it's not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can't be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can't be controlled. And it means that no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.”
Veronica Roth

“You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. ”
Marianne Williamson

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.”
Byron Katie

"Begin challenging your own assumptions.  Your assumptions are your windows on the world.  Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in."
Alan Alda

"Thinking is what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."
William James

Here’s the thing.  If you are achieving what you want in your life and work my educated guess is that your intentions, feelings, and thoughts are in alignment and your behaviour matches.

Of course if you are not achieving what you really want in your life, either your thinking is stopping you and/or your intentions and feelings are out of alignment with your thinking and therefore your actions are betraying you.

Wherever the status quo no longer serves you, it’s time to change what’s normal.  Changing your thinking is a great place to start.

Is it time for you to think like a maverick?

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."
Anon

To solve all your problems in your life and work, to overcome your challenges, first change or modify how you think about them and then make sure your intentions and emotions are in alignment, then take action in sync with your intentions, feelings, and thinking.

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

“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.”
Lao Tzu

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Clarity precedes everything else

This Sunday's sparkenation.

This week before you open your mouth, type, or doing anything, take a moment to get clear.

“Success depends on where intention is” said Gita Bellin.

The clearer we are, the more solid our intention, our purpose, our reason, the better life turns out.

"Look before you leap" has always been good advice.

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

More sparkenations here.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Letting go of command and control

This piece by former McKinsey Managing Partner Marvin Bower published in November 1997 is still very relevant. A 1950's and 60's leader Bower was ahead of his time.

If you are wanting to really embrace leading and managing the 21st century way take onboard Bower's insights and take action.

You will feel better, and so will your people. Better performance will follow.

To many Bower's insights were maverick thinking in his day. Staggeringly for some, they still are.

Is your thinking still old school? Could you think more like a maverick and then step out of the box with your actions?

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

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Fulfilling Lives - worldwide online summit

I am thrilled and honoured to be one of the people interviewed for this summit which will be hosted by Alicia Curtis 6 - 10 May 2014.


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

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Delusion is just one of 26 barriers in the way of your business being remarkable

My work is about helping business leaders to be change champions. One consequence is less of the red and more of the blue below.



As you can see delusion is in the red zone which usually means red ink in your business profitability as well!

I don’t know any leader, myself included, who is not suffering from some form of delusion particularly around current reality.

This post by Toby Webb ‘Corporate leadership: the problem is delusion not myopia’ offers some insight into limiting, even get rid of delusion.

What are you doing in your business to both eliminate and prevent delusion?

Maybe I can help you. Here’s how.

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

Monday, 24 March 2014

Is the traditional role of management extinct?

This is a very interesting article by Sean Blanda about Treehouse’s approach to management.

In my own view traditional management, the idea of planning, organising, directing, and controlling, is long dead.

We lead people. We manage things.

I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do. 

Leadership falters and usually badly without management.

I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Management is no longer about people. Management is about systems, processes, tasks. Management in harmony with leadership which is about people, attitudes, and relationships, is a force to be reckoned with.

In simple terms management is about efficiency. Leadership is about effectiveness. We need both.

How are both going at your place?

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

Friday, 21 March 2014

Are you a giver, taker, or matcher?

I read Adam Grant's 'Give and Take' book in one sitting.

Adam's work is the full stop on the central theme of my recents posts - giving in ways where we don't disadvantage ourselves.

In Adam's words I have been a "chump" sometimes in my giving more than a "champ", i.e. I have given so much that sometimes it has been to my detriment.

A key way I live my life is to practice enlightened self-interest a philosophy in ethics. Sometimes this has left me wanting to be a taker or a matcher (someone who gives in proportion to receiving), because of a feeling of being used by others.

Adam's book has really helped me to see how I can be a giver and not be disadvantaged.

I have added Adam's book to my recommended reading list and the following diagram to my desktop to help me to maintain harmony.

Here's my review of Adam's book on Amazon FYI.


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

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

What are the best ways you meet people you want to meet?

This is a great story by Marshall Haas about how he meets people.

What are the best ways you meet people you want to meet?
I’d love to know. Please comment or email me ian@ianberry.biz

Networking doesn't qualify as an answer for me! It might for you. Networlding does work for me.

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

Monday, 17 March 2014

The power of 2nd and 3rd degree connections

I did an analysis of where my clients have come from recently. The majority of new clients come from existing or past clients - people they know, who like, know and trust them, and therefore are willing to get to like, know and trust me. 

Often these new clients are 2nd and 3rd degree connections of my clients and past clients. This is not suprising given their first degree connections are like mine, mostly pals not prospects. 

What is interesting is entering new markets where I don’t have existing or past clients and yet someone in their network or mine knows someone in these markets and relationships are built from there. This is where the tools of the internet such as LinkedIn come in, and where there is leverage from so called weak-ties. 

This December 2012 article by LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman is well worth exploring. It’s about the power of your 2nd and 3rd degree connections. 

Reid refers to Dunbar’s Law. 

I personally use this law to invest in relationships by focusing on about 150 people and following a carefully thought through sequence and frequency of staying in touch with them. I use tools like LinkedIn to stay in touch with a much larger number of people which for me means I have no trouble in always having 150 people in my primary circle.

My focus is about adding value as perceived by others. I know that giving value first, without attachment to getting back, eventually leads to clients.

As an example I recently gave one of my Changing What’s Normal books to someone I believed would value it. In passing I said “Please pass it on to someone else after you have got value from it yourself.” They did. I am now building a relationship of high value and mutual reward with this person who I previously had never met.

How are you adding value to people you want to do business with? 

How easy is it for people to pass on what you give them to others?

Do you encourage people to pass on what you give them?

Are you referring your 2nd and 3rd degree connections to others?

Are you referring/recommending your first degree connections too? 
If you are like me these people are your pals more than your prospects. Helping our pals to grow their slice of the pie, without attachment to getting back, is part of the puzzle too!

I reckon your answers to these questions will help you to focus and achieve more of what you want and less of what you don’t want in your business.

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

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Of the 5 basic ways we communicate, 1 matters the most.

This Sunday’s sparkenation.

We communicate largely through cliches, sharing facts as we see them, sharing opinions, sharing feelings, and optimum where we don’t need words e.g. How do I know that my wife is ready to go home even though she is on the other side of the room? A. It’s just a look!

The writer of ‘Do’ Kevin Kelly says that “authentic attention is the most sought after intangible in an attention deficit world.” I couldn’t agree more.

Spend more time this week sharing your feelings and really paying attention to others expressing their feelings. Your life and work will be better when you do.

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

Friday, 14 March 2014

Does your sign on the wall match the feeling in their hearts?

I live about 30 minutes from the city of Geelong. In recent years a great restoration has taken place to the waterfront area. Many old buildings still retain the name of the original company resident on the outside because when they were built company names were chiselled into the wall.

I was reflecting on this recently while waiting for someone outside one of these great old buildings. Most of the companies whose names are embedded in the walls no longer exist.

Wherever your business name appears it's not really permanent. What really matters is how people feel about you in their hearts.

How do the majority of your employees and customers/clients feel about your business?

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

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Are you thriving in the change business?


A CEO client of mine with over 4000 employees in his business is always reminding people through his words and actions “We are in the change business.”

Whatever your product/s/service/s, you, like me, and everybody else, are in the change business. Are you thriving? 

Here are 3 key ways to thrive on the challenges of change

1) Accept the fact that all change is personal first, relationship change second, and organisational change a distant third. 

“If you will change, everything will change for you.” said Jim Rohn.

Work hard on changing yourself. People follow those who lead by example. Become a master at adapting without betraying your values. 

Charles Darwin got it right.


2) Think and act like a maverick

My heroes are mavericks – rebels, radicals, dissenters, disrupters, heretics, non-conformists, contrarians, the label doesn’t matter. I am particularly passionate about maverick thinking and action that leads to radical transformation of the way we work because much of the way we work isn’t working.

What isn’t working in your business? Change it.
What could be better in your business? Change it.
Where are you falling short of your stakeholders expectations? Change It.

Albert Einstein was on the money when he observed. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

When it comes to what isn’t working, what could be better, and where you are falling short in your business, think differently. Think like a maverick.

3) Work diligently every single day to find and maintain a shared-view with your employees about:

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

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”
General Eric Shinseki, former Chief of Staff of the US Army.

You are in the change business like each and every one of us. The question is, Are you thriving?

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

Monday, 10 March 2014

The 8 pillars of innovation according to Google. How well are they holding up at your place?

This post by Google's Susan Wojcicki was posted in July 2011, a long time ago in today's world where change is the norm. Susan's 8 innovation pillars will stand the test of time I reckon.

Are these pillars in your business?

Do you have a mission (purpose) that matters? (see also my post yesterday).

Are you thinking big yet starting small?

Are you striving for continual innovation, not instant perfection?

Are you looking for ideas everywhere?

Do you share everything?

and my favourite Are you never failing to fail?

Read all 8 of Susan's innovation pillars here May they inspire you to fully embrace real innovation in your business.

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

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The purpose of your business is the bedrock of its success

This Sunday's sparkenation.

My heroes are mavericks – rebels, radicals, dissenters, disrupters, heretics, non-conformists, contrarians, the label doesn’t matter. I am particularly passionate about maverick thinking and action that leads to radical transformation of the way we work because much of the way we work isn’t working.

Dee Hock the founder and first CEO of Visa International embodies maverick thinking.

In this Fast Company article published way back in October 1996! Mr Hock is quoted as saying:

"Unless we can define a purpose for this organization that we can all believe in, we might as well go home." That's "purpose" as in, "We the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union .... " The purpose has to be an authentic statement of what the organization is about, not some platitude cooked up by a consultant."

What’s the purpose of your business?

and remember this: Profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business.

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

More sparkenations.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Your plans are unlikely to get executed if you are unclear about your strategy

The debate going on in Australian politics about our so-called national airline Qantas is flawed because they are talking about plans without clarity of the strategy.

No politician seems to be able to answer the questions; What is our strategy about foreign ownership? and What is our strategy about creating and retaining jobs? In fact I don’t hear anyone asking these questions.

If you have a plan for the future of your business and you are unclear about your strategy, you are equally in deep trouble.

Are you asking and candidly and authentically answering the questions you must?

Strategy is simply the how of getting where you want to go.

As I have proclaimed many, many times you need a shared-view about your strategy with those who will execute it. And a shared-view about strategy cannot be in isolation. You must have shared-view about all of the following:

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

The last one is about culture which drives and will always trump strategy.

The culture of politics sadly is governement and oppostion against a backdrop in the rest of the world of collaboration. This means politicians have hamstrung themselves from achieving anything great. Don’t make this mistake in your business.

A word about strategic planning. I believe it is an oxymoron. 

Strategy and planning (read executiuon) should be thought about separately. Planning/execution follows strategy in the context of shared-view as outlined above.

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

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Why are we obsessed with economic growth?

In Australia recently the treasurers and finance ministers of the world's top 20 economies gathered. There was an obsession at their meeting about economic growth. The meeting ended with a growth target and everyone went away charged with coming up with plans to achieve it.

Why are we obsessed with economic growth? I rhetorically asked my wife as we watched a television interview with Australia's treasurer.

I meet many salespeople obsessed with making sales and yet they are lukewarm about building relationships.

I meet lots of business owners obsessed with making profits and yet they appear to be clueless about building a business that will make profits.

I meet lots of leaders obsessed with increasing employee engagement and yet they are not prepared to invest in the building blocks that lead to such engagement.

Sales, profit, employee engagement, like economic growth, are outcomes. Each one is a lag measure.
What we should be focusing on is lead measures. Please read my blog about lead measures here.

In my view we should be obsessed with following the proven processes that lead to the outcomes we want.

Are you focused on processes or outcomes, lead or lag?

Politicians in Australia right now can't agree on what do about our national airline Qantas not operating in a level playing field. Common sense tells me that if they focused on collaboration instead of politics a win/win/win could be achieved very easily.

What internal politics are in the way of common sense solutions to your business challenges?

My wife and I walk daily and we go to the gym at least twice a week. Inch by inch we reach our goals. Our focus is not on our goals rather the actions that will mean we will achieve our goals as a consequence.

In your personal and business life are you focused on your goals or the actions you know will get you to where you want to be?

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

"Inch by inch is a cinch. Yard by yard too hard."
Terry Jenner


Monday, 3 March 2014

Are you scratching what’s itching you about your business, your community and the world?

In a great book Rework: Change the Way You Work Forever, authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hanson, put forward the idea of scratching what’s itching you as a great way to create, build and grow a business. I think it is also an insightful way to look at leadership.

Steve Jobs and people like him are heroes to me because they have scratched what’s itching them and we all benefit. Next time you use your mouse think about Steve Jobs, who didn’t invent it, yet he was so inspired when he first saw the technology because he glimpsed a way to scroll on his jeans and envisaged far reaching benefits for the masses. The rest as they say is history.

What’s itching you in your business, community, the world,and what are you doing about it?

As I reflect I can see that I have developed much of my expertise as a business mentor, by collaborating with my clients to find ways to remove what irritates both you and me.

When I see time, energy or money being wasted I initiate time out and work with people to end the waste and turn deficit into surplus. You?

When I encounter or observe poor service I instigate an accountability conversation with the perpetrator/s. You? 

When a great strategy isn’t being fully executed I work with others to engage or reengage the executors. You?

When everyone is zigging I work with others to find a way to zag. You?

When it’s clear that conventional wisdom isn’t helping to solve a problem or overcome a challenge I work with others to find an unconventional way to win. You? 

When the status quo is no longer serving people I feel a deep urge to help people to change what’s normal. I act on the urge. You?

When I notice a lack of common-sense I enact ways to uncover the cause and help to restore sanity. You?

When bureaucracy, red tape and/or politics (internal and/or external) are inhibiting people’s performance I desperately want to get rid of the crap and seek out people prepared to shovel. You?

When I see people giving less than their best I have to find out why and inspire them to find flow. You?

When people say something can’t be done this way or that way I want to find out why not. You?

When I see barriers in the way of people bringing their best to their work I feel compelled to work with them to remove the barriers. You?

When I see leaders frustrated with people as they are I help them to see people as they can be. You?

When meetings meander I speak up. You?

When I witness the blame and shame game happening I point people back to accountability agreements. When these don’t exist I help to create them. You?

When I observe or encounter conflict, difficulty or disagreement between people I am candid, change the conversation, break the deadlock and help people to discover or restore shared-view. You?

When the system, process, policy, procedure, or practice isn’t making it simple for people to bring their best to their work I prompt others to change the rule/s. You?

When I encounter people acting as if their way is the only way I point out that nothing great is easy and nothing great is ever achieved completely alone. You?

All of the above are itches I have to scratch, problems I feel compelled to solve, challenges I must overcome. You?

All of the above are signs too of the maverick in me - the rebel, radical, dissenter, disrupter, heretic, non-conformist, contrarian, the label doesn’t matter, one who dreams every day of finding a better, different, or more unique way to let people loose and unleash the gifts/talents lying dormant in so many people.

Leaders with a heart for people and a willingness to think and act like mavericks matter today more than ever. Are you such a person?

If you are and any of the above are causing you to itch we should talk. Scratching together is the simplest and most rewarding way to build a better world by building a better business.

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

Related thoughts from my blog in the past month



Sunday, 2 March 2014

Are you giving people exactly what they want?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Is your business about making money or is it about delivering value?

A business is a person or a group of people giving other people the value that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve.

Are you giving people the value that they want? Making money is a consequence of doing so.

If you have employees, are you giving them the value that they want? The most successful businesses serve employees first and customers second. Profit follows.

Are people your priority or is profit your priority? Your answer to this question will tell you a lot about why your business is where it is today.

Profit is not a reason for being in business. Profit is a result of being good at business.

What’s your reason for being in business?

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

More sparkenations.