Friday, 20 October 2017

Determining the road less travelled

The book that really inspired me in the 70's to make self-development a life-long quest was 'The Road Less Traveled' by M. Scott Peck. The title was inspired by the famous Robert Frost poem.
Today when I have a choice of two roads or more I have a preference to take the one I feel will most likely help me and/or other people to disrupt the status quo when sameness is no longer serving.

Image by Miguel Cortes

Often there doesn't seem to be much difference about the roads ahead and so closer examination is required. The following are the questions I ask:

Will taking this road inspire me (and/or other people) to become more of whom I'm capable of becoming?

Will taking this road mean greater value delivery?

Will the culture (world, community, team etc etc) be enhanced if I take this road?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

What are the differences between propaganda and news?

My trusty Google dictionary says propaganda is:
information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.

as an aside it also says
a committee of cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church responsible for foreign missions, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.

I laughed out loud when I read this second definition.

When I Google fake news I get the following from Wikipedia
Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.[1] Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention.

When I Google news the following is prominent
newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events.
and information not previously known to (someone).

Why am I on this trail?

Recently while enjoying conversation over a coffee with my wife in one of our favourite coffee shops it suddenly occurred to me that everyone else in the shop was on their so-called smart phones! This observation led us to explore what news is.

One of my conclusions is that we mostly scroll, watch and listen to news that is actually someone else's propaganda. This is a major distraction in our lives that has us trapped.

What's your thoughts? I would genuinely like to know. Please email I'll publish your answers (with permission) here.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 16 October 2017

When one side deserves to lose and the other doesn't deserve to win

Referring to his home state Nick Xenophon on announcing his intention to quit Federal politics and contest a state seat said "We have a government that deserves to lose, and an Opposition that does not deserve to win."

Source of quote 

This is a very sad state of affairs that I believe applies to all levels of politics worldwide. Mediocrity is a consequence.

What's also interesting is that Xenophon still has 5 years to sit in the Senate so his decision is driven by self-interest more than the national interests or the interests of his state which he loudly proclaimed as his reasoning for forming a party and gaining extra Senate seats.

I despair at politics and political systems worldwide.

The key lesson for business leaders is say what you mean and mean what you say about your purpose, and never abandon it.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 13 October 2017

There's always more in situations than we initially see

There are many great examples of serendipity throughout history - the discovery of penicillin and the inventions of the microwave oven and the Post-it note get a mention on Wikipedia.

How about in your life?

Serendipity traditionally means discovering something good without looking for it.

I find in reality that the more I look for what else is, might be or could be in circumstances and situations the more I discover.

I find this particularly so when I look for the good, the great and the remarkable in situations where there's conflict, difficulty or disagreement.

When things don't go according to plan asking What if?, What else and What can be? are great questions to ask.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
Marcel Proust

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Value and Values Based Businesses Continue Their Rise

Here's my first post on this topic on 6th February 2012.

High values, high value business are continuing their rise for 3 key reasons:

1) Generation Next, currently aged 36 and younger, will soon be half the workforce. They are attracted to organisations who live their values more than any group of people ever have been

In previous surveys, Millennials have told us that businesses’ greatest contribution was the financial benefit associated with job creation—but they see this as an outcome rather than a guiding principle of business conduct. So, to better understand their values, we asked Millennials, “What are the most important values a business should follow if it is to have long-term success?” They responded that businesses should put employees first, and they should have a solid foundation of trust and integrity. Customer care and high-quality, reliable products also ranked relatively high in importance. Attention to the environment and social responsibility were also mentioned by a significant number of Millennials.

Source The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016

One of the keys to values is that they must be behaviours not words as I explore in the 4 minutes 35 seconds video below:

2) Machine's are taking over routine work and therefore it's easier that it's ever been to find your dream role

Machines can do algorithmic work. Soon they will do most of what's simple, routine and repetitive.

This represents a great opportunity for us humans.

According to there's 3 keys to finding a dream job

"The bottom line
To find a dream job, look for:

Work you’re good at,
Work that helps others,
Supportive conditions: engaging work that lets you enter a state of flow; supportive colleagues; lack of major negatives like unfair pay; and work that fits your personal life."

The full article where I found the above is here. 

In my work I go a step further and help people to do remarkable, meaningful to them and highly valuable to others work.

There's a plethora of research about this. The premier book to read is 'Deep Work' by Cal Newport. Learn more about this here.

A key to helping people to do remarkable, meaningful to them and highly valuable to others work is through what I call the number one role of leadership, 'enhancing their (your) gifts. I explore this in the  4 minutes and 57 seconds video below.

3) The rules have changed in the new world of work

Two of the books that I added to my top 21 recommended reading list last year were and The Purpose Economy and Technology vs Humanity.

You can read my full Amazon review here.

There's is much to love about this book. Three aspects that I love in particular are:

1) The idea of exponential humanism "the philosophy to find a way forward that will allow us to embrace technology but not become technology, to use it as a tool not as purpose."

2) The concept of "key human indicators" as a far better way forward than the traditional and tired KPI's.

3) The insight of androrithms "those qualities that makes us human" having more meaning than algorithms.

I personally don't like the use of word economy. I get it's currency. No pun intended. I don't like the use of the term 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' either.

A shift I've noticed in my lifetime is the economy has moved from being part of society to society being part of the economy.

I for one don't believe this shift has been a healthy or helpful one.

Nevertheless this book is an all time favourite. It contains great case studies.

I particularly like the 12 New Work Rules put forward in this book pictured below.

How will you better embrace the new world of work?

How will you increase the number of people in your organisation doing remarkable, meaningful to them and highly valuable to others work?

How will you better turn your values into behaviours?

Be remarkable.

PS If you'd love some short term help go here and then contact me.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Adopting the Rule of three for better meetings, emails and other messaging

Image courtesy of organisational

I unwittingly slumped in my chair a little as my client told me he was back to spending 50% of his time reacting or responding to emails, and about 30% of his time locked in meetings where mostly he was wondering why he was there.

“I know, I know” he blurted out loud in frustration and in response to my slump.

I regained my composure and engaged in conversation with my client using my four standard accountability conversation questions:

What happened?

What do you need to do to get back on track?

Is their anything I can do to help you?

Anything else?

As a consequence my client mapped out the following course of action. It may help you as much as it’s helped him get his life, his time and his mojo back.

Firstly three key principles to apply in your own best way:

1) You have control over most of the 168 hours you have at your disposal every week.
2) The consequences of pushing back on unsolicited, unwarranted or unclear requests are never as bad as you think they might be.
3) "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." William James

3 rules for better meetings encompassed in the one rule of only participating in meetings that have one of the three as their purpose

1) Assessment/review of data meetings where the purpose is to extract usable insight.

2) Decision-making meetings where an agreed process is followed.

3) Learning and development meetings where there's been pre-work and when there will be post work to integrate the learning with what you're already doing well.

It's a disappointing waste of time, resources and talent to spend money to work on a problem that actually should be a conversation first.
Seth Godin

More from Seth on meetings here.

3 rules for a better email experience

1) Only write and respond to emails twice a day.

2) Only send emails that inform, inspire or invite.

3) Only read email newsletters and other subscriptions once a week.

3 rules for other forms of message exchange

1) Let other people know your preferred ways to receive information. Mine is telephone and second preference texting where text is short and sweet with a link if appropriate and clear expectation of a reply request or not.

2) Ask people what their preferred way/s are for receiving information from you are and do that.

3) Use proven digital collaboration tools when working on projects with other people.

Here's a review of 10 online collaboration tools

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

PS Below are 3 further articles I've found valuable on the topics of meaningful meetings, emails and messaging in general.

Thought Leaders Global Founder Matt Church on elemental meetings

How to stop wasting time a guide to more effective meetings from Brian Neese and Alvernia University

Three key actions real leaders take every day

and here is a bonus two page manifesto for best practice in communication in general that I wrote way back in 2005 yet still highly relevant today.

Friday, 6 October 2017

The 7 really useful models on video

Below are the short video profiles of each of my 7 really useful models for building and sustaining remarkable workplace cultures. Total viewing time is around 30 minutes.

You can view them as a playlist on YouTube here.

I'm conducting a very special online conversation about the models and how you can use them in your own best way on October 16th. Find out more and register here. 

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

VUCA is only one side of the story

You've no doubt heard of VUCA

I like the approach of Kevin Roberts in what he calls SUPER VUCA. He says

"Our job as creative leaders is to turn a volatile, uncertain. complex and ambiguous world, into one that is vibrant, unreal, crazy and astounding."

Watch under 5 minutes from Kevin on this here.

In my world while accepting VUCA I help people to focus on the opposites - Dependable, Predictable, Simple and Clear.

VUCA is certainly one side of the story and we should never ignore it, however focusing on the bright side of dependable, predictable, simple and clear leads to a better life and better business results.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Remarkable people have ditched dogma and instead lead by example

One of my 14 principles for being remarkable is:

Remarkable people have ditched dogma and instead lead by example.

When I Google the meaning of dogma I get
“a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.”

Dogma is trouble wherever you find it. It's where what someone in authority says is more important than the original sound principle on which the dogma is based.

We see this in religion of course where a good principle articulated by Buddha as below for example is overruled by dogma (and therefore behaviour) making a lie of the good principle.

“All spirituality is about relieving suffering.” Buddha

Dogma being what we follow and how we behave, rather than living by the good principle on which the dogma is based in our own best way, is true in most places including your workplace.

Steve Jobs got it right I reckon when he said "Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking."

The great spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi articulated what I think is a principle highly relevant in all of life. He said

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world."

One of the key questions I ask my clients is "How can you better be the change you want to see in your workplace?" Honest answers lead to ditching dogma and leading by example.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Don’t wait for your boss to receive appreciation

Helping my clients to apply the appreciation principle in their own best way is central to all of my work.

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” - William James

Not just any principle, the deepest.

Obviously we all need to feel appreciated.

Often I invoke another proven principle to get the appreciation ball rolling:

Start today to better show appreciation to your:










Show appreciation to everyone you meet.

What goes around comes around (another proven principle).

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Introducing Carol the celebrant - heart-crafted life-changing ceremonies

Thrilled that my wife Carol has fulfilled a dream by becoming a marriage celebrant.

If you’re getting married in Geelong or the Bellarine or Surf Coast please give Carol a call.

Here's her website and contact details.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 25 September 2017

It's not the platform or process you use, it's the conversations that really count

I was interested to see an email recently promoting a webinar by Chloe Hawcroft (Director, People Capability, People & Culture, AMP) and Karin Hawkins (Principal Consultant, NeuroLeadership Institute) about Perform@AMP. Below is some of the copy:

"AMP saw that the quality of conversations matters.

Perform@AMP helps leaders to have the right conversations and tailor them to the needs of individuals. It positioned employees as ‘owning’ their own performance and development; learning, collaboration and adaptability as central to performance; feedback as ‘sharing reflections’ focused on growth; and set up employees to be active and intentional about their development.

In 2017, Perform@AMP was nominated and won Australia’s Good Design Award, one of the longest standing and most prestigious design awards in the world, promoting excellence in design and innovation."

A Google search led me to the video below: You can view the video direct here.

It's great to see a major business adopting an approach like this.

Since 1991 I've been helping business owners and leaders worldwide to focus on communication and conversations more than the platform or process. In case you missed it my most recent post on the subject 'Just in case you haven't yet ditched performance appraisals' is here.

I use the following model to help my clients:

Should you like some help with becoming remarkable at communication and conversations that count please contact me on +61 418 807 898.

You can also participate in a special conversation online about the above model and 6 others. It's on October 16th. Details and registration here.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 22 September 2017

The Appreciative Leader Pioneers, Innovators and Role Models Program

I've entered swansong territory in my business career. I'm anticipating a 3 to 5 year journey!

A key is my online program that helps you to integrate the seven really useful models for building and sustaining remarkable workplace cultures pictured below with what you are already doing that's working well for you.

Here's how the program works.

To learn more about the these models you can participate in the complimentary conversation on October 16th. You can learn more and register here.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Your Success = less rules and more applying proven principles in your own best way

The above photograph by Cultura Creative features in this great article by Eric J. McNulty.

He's an extract

"Lou Gerstner turned IBM around using what was then a groundbreaking idea: managing by principles rather than procedures."

I have a slightly different take. Leadership for me is all about applying proven principles in your own best way.

There must be some processes, policies, procedures, practices and systems (PPPPS's). Imagine the lack of them for example in an operating theatre! These PPPPS's are modern management and they are best designed by the people doing the work.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 18 September 2017

How to make your business 10 times better, faster and cheaper

I have just completed a study of this book and have no hesitation in adding it to my recommended reading list.

Whatever the status of your business and your goals for the future of it there are many principles inside this book that you can apply in your own best way.

The book contains lots of case studies and profiles of what it takes to lead an ExO organisation ((I say any organisation that wants to truly make a difference).

The book is written in a easy to understand style which is refreshing given the complexities of the subject matter.

This book lives up to it's claim of being a how to for making your business 10 times better, faster and cheaper.

The book provides an easy to follow model as pictured below and a comprehensive guide to taking action.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Two often unseen faces of influence

The following words attributed to Angela Merkel are perhaps a key to her longevity and influence.

And Shakespeare had a similar take

These are the often unseen faces of influence.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Really useful models for building and sustaining remarkable workplace cultures

On the 16th October 2017 I'm hosting a unique event online for a small group. It's complimentary.

I'll be taking you behind the scenes of the seven models for building and sustaining remarkable workplace cultures that I've developed (and continue to hone) on the back of working with more than 1000 leaders, women and men, in over 40 countries since 1991.

You can find out more and register for the conversation here.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Is the farce, folly and flawed nature of fundamentalism threatening your business too?

We’ve been having in my view an uncalled for, unwarranted and totally unnecessary public debate about marriage equality in Australia recently.

I’m aware that the headline for this post or simply by making the statement above means I may have alienated you. If so you have made that choice. In my view offence can be taken yet not given.

I believe we can disagree on any number of matters and still get along just fine.

The key to working together and most importantly to living in harmony on the same planet is not what we disagree on, rather what we agree on.

If you have taken offence please read no further as things will likely only get worse for you. Again your choice.

The above is an example of candidness. Hopefully the convivial intention of it is not lost on you.

The debate in Australia has come about because our Prime Minister, who says he favours marriage equality, has been unwilling to allow parliamentarians a conscious vote because he fears offending a minority in his own party that threaten his leadership. This illustrates how the tail wags the dog in politics and how self-interest triumphs over national interest.

Not that a conscious vote should be necessary. The vast majority of people in Australia want marriage equality so the politicians should simply be making that desire the law.

Instead they bow to the farce, folly and flawed nature of fundamentalism. More classic tail wagging the dog behaviour.

A conscious vote is itself ironic given that the marriage act was changed less than twenty years ago. And as far as I can tell the changes were made in the dead of night without consultation with a majority of parliamentarians, and certainly not the people they are supposed to represent.

The act now says only a man and woman can marry. This law violates many other Australian laws because it discriminates against people based on their sexual preference. So we have an act that is itself illegal!

These are examples of fundamentalism and tail wagging the dog action. It’s a farce, folly and flawed all at once!

And don’t get me started on religious bigots. Marriage is not a religious act. According to our law it’s a civil ceremony and 70% of the time is performed by civil celebrants. Religious leaders cannot perform the legal part of the ceremony without the appropriate authority from the Attorney Generals Department.

Fundamentalism has a both a religious and a non-religious face. It seeks to discriminate against people who don’t believe the same thing that the fundamentalists do.

Be careful because fundamentalism could be threatening your business too.

You can tell if this is the case by listening into communication and conversations and gleaning whether or not assertiveness is a characteristic of your culture.

Aggressive behaviour says “my way is the only way, my way is better than yours, or there'll be serious consequences if you don't do this. These are all bully behaviour.

Submissive behaviour says “your way is better than mine.”

Assertive behaviour says “let’s find a way together.”

Assertive behaviour respects your view and mine and then works towards ours.

Stephen Covey called Ours the Third Alternative. It’s a very powerful way to feel, think and live. It enables the holding of opposing views in the mind at once and making decisions that are in the best interests of the majority without harming anyone in the minority.

Most of our troubles, personal, local, organisational, national, and international, are fundamentally based in our perceived need to hang onto the world in here (my view), our issues with the world out there (other people's views), and, our failure to focus more on the world we share (Ours).

The exciting news is that when we find and sustain shared-view (ours) we can triumph over all our troubles and thrive in any circumstance.

In your business (and any relationship of high value and mutual reward) shared-view matters in seven areas:

1. where we are (reality)
2. where we're going (possibility)
3. why we're going there (purpose)
4. how we will get there (strategy)
5. who will do what and when (execution)
6. how we will know we are on track (milestones and lead measures)
7. how we will behave along the way (culture &values)

I’m hosting a complimentary candid and convivial conversation online on 16th October 2017 about these seven areas of significance where the most successful leaders stand out and other really useful models for building and sustaining remarkable workplace cultures. You can register here. Places are limited to enable conversation. All views are welcome. 

The above is not a webinar rather a conversation. There will be no boring voice over slides, silly slogans or anything for sale.

Be remarkable.

PS The High Court in Australia ruled last Thursday that the Government's proposed opinion poll about marriage equality can go ahead and therefore we all get the chance to say yes or no. I personally believe that doing so is an insult to people who love one another and want to get married.

Nevertheless I will vote yes and hopefully do my bit to end the farce, folly and flawed nature of all of this.

I've found it fascinating that those who want a no vote are suggesting that this is about political correctness, freedom of speech and religion and even about the welfare of children.

Beware of this kind of thing in your business. Hyperbole, just plain hype and obvious red herrings are all subtle forms of bullying.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Thriving on the challenges of change is a process, not something you can manage

Change management in my view, like strategic planning, is an oxymoron.

Change initiatives are highly successful when leadership (both as something we do for other people as well as for ourselves) and management, are thought about and acted on in partnership rather than as the one discipline.

People everywhere confuse strategy and planning, two completely different disciplines.  Think about the two together at your peril.  Strategy is about how and planning about execution, who will do what and when. The consequences of confusing the two, or thinking about the two at the same time, are usually that great strategies never see the light of day, they get buried in massive documents that just gather dust, or worse, great strategies never get executed.

Confuse change and management or think about the two at the same time and likely that you will suffer a similar fate, what you want to change, won’t.

Thriving on the challenges of change is about primarily about leadership.  Leadership as John Maxwell has observed is “about influence, nothing more, nothing less.”

I define leadership as the art of ensuring people feel valued.

Leadership falters and usually badly, without management.

I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to deliver value.

Leadership and management are two of the seven essentials of remarkable workplaces:

Change like people can’t be managed.  What we can do is manage the systems and processes that will help us to bring about the change/s we are leading.

You need a change process not a change program

Please consider carefully my 13 reasons why most change initiatives fail:

#1. The people charged with making the change happen don’t really believe in it and therefore their work is half-hearted at best

#2. The change program is designed to take too long and the status quo wins

#3. The expectations are unrealistic

#4. People are not genuinely appreciated when they do well

#5. People are not held to account when they fail to perform as they agreed they would

#6. Measurements of progress are poor or non-existent

#7. Desired change is actually problem solving which usually means a return to the status quo rather than real innovation

#8. Intentions, emotions, and thinking doesn’t change and therefore any behaviour change that may happen doesn’t last

#9. There isn’t a real shared-view about why the change is crucial/essential

#10. There isn’t a real shared-view on how the change will happen and who will do what, and when

#11. Leaders don’t understand all change is personal first, relationships second, and organisations third

#12. Leaders don’t personally change

#13. Broken relationships remain broken.

Would you add any my list?

To thrive on the challenge of change co-create a change process

The change process below is the one I use initially in work with my clients. My objective is always to help my clients to co-create their own process with employees, thereby guaranteeing innovation and ownership.

I am deeply indebted to the work of many people who use the concept of Appreciative Inquiry, the work of Duarte, and to my Grandfather Sherriff for teaching me the law of the farm.

The fertile ground is Appreciating what is (the remarkable, the great, the good, and the bad and the ugly).

The better you Appreciate what is, the more fully you can Imagine what can be (the ploughing).

Clarity around what can be enables precise planning around the tiny shifts (Quantum leaps - the seeding) that you will take to move from what is to what can be.

Leaping (the nurturing) leads to the harvest of positive momentum, which is the key to achieving better business results, at less personal cost.

Inside The Appreciative Leader handbook are considerations and possible actions you can take to co-create and implement a change process for your business. You'll never need to think about a change program ever again.

Find out more about the handbook, and the associated companion resources web page and private online community here.

At the companion resources web page via the above link you’ll see examples of specific actions.

Who will you become? 

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

PS I’m very grateful to the work of John Kotter on leading change. For many years while developing the Appreciate - Imagine - Create - Leap - Momentum process I used in my own best way his 8 steps process in my work with many clients.

There’s an excellent ebook about Kotter’s 8 steps here. 

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
John Lennon

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."
Charles Darwin

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Adults in the Room by Yanis Varoufakis

The story of this book should never be yet is because self-interested and selfish people driven by elitism are still trying to control the world.

As long as there are people like Yanis Varoufakis, we the people have hope, and the establishment will eventually bring about their own demise.

I for one believe the world will be better post Brexit, post Trump and post other movements that seem to me are driven by self-righteousness rather than meaningful purpose.

Inside this book are clues to a better, brighter more human future.

You can get this book here.

I laughed and cried while reading this book at the childish behaviour of people in power.

As a adult being childlike or childish is a decision.

To be remarkable we must be more childlike and eliminate being childish.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Your fate is to be either the disrupter or the disrupted. There is no middle ground.

You'll find the image above at this website.

One of the 8 roles appreciative leaders play remarkably well is the purpose role - disruptive influence for good. I agree with Salim Ismail we're either the disrupter or the disrupted. Many people are disrupters - for good are my key words!

I recommend Ismail's TEDx talk below and his book pictured underneath which I am currently studying.

More about this book here.

If you like some help in being a disruptive influence for good please get in touch with me. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Download my 'Remarkable is the new normal' workbook first. It begins with Disrupting yourself. Here's the link.

Alternatively participate in the complimentary online symposium on Monday November 6th. You can download the workbook and register here.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Spring is much more than a season

One of the reasons we choose to live in Victoria, Australia is that we experience all four seasons distinctively. In fact the local joke is that we can experience all four in the same day!

I don't deny though that Spring is a favourite.

Flowers seem to anticipate it, birds definitely do. Our dog Molly has had an extra spring, dare I say it, in her step lately as the weather has been showing hints of Springtime albeit tarnished with the harshness of winter.

A great axiom I live by is ensuring there are Spring moments, days and longer periods in my personal and business life regardless of the season outside.

Here are 5 rituals I embrace

1) I begin each day by writing down what I'm grateful for.

2) When I'm feeling less than my best I say out loud 'the joy of spring'. Then intention, feelings and thoughts change. Better behaviour follows.

3) I invest 1 day a month in re-imagining something about my work. Always the result is I make an adjustment that means I'm providing greater value or the same value just in a better way for my clients.

4) Every quarter I have a spring clean. I write down what's worth celebrating and what can be better. Then I rewrite my performance possibility plan for the next quarter.

5) Every year on this day, the first of September, whether it's Spring outside or not, I go through my change process pictured below and re-imagine who I am when my life is in full blossom.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Giving ourselves permission and self-promotion - great insights from Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss

Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss are role models for me. I learned about the two videos below via an email from Alan. Enjoy and take action in your own best way.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 28 August 2017

How are you measuring what's meaningful?

I found this Harvard Business Review article by Eddie Yoon highly valuable.

How are you measuring what's meaningful?

Inside my latest book there are some insights, inspiration and ideas to help you to measure what's meaningful.

You can download the book with my compliments by scrolling down here.

Check out or recheck my April 2016 post 'Introspection and Integration are more valuable than innovation' too.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Create a one-page user manual and improve everyone's leadership

The image above is from this article by Aaron Hurst CEO of Imperative. I found the article when reading this Creating Your Own User manual blog post.

As a pioneer in the creation of many one pagers I wish I had thought of this one!

Hat tip to Daniel Pink who first alerted me via his newsletter to this article which links to the original work of Abby Falik Founder and CEO Global Citizen Year here.

Below are the 6 sections of Abby's one page user manual.

My style
What I value
What I don’t have patience for
How to best communicate with me
How to help me
What people misunderstand about me

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

How to Lead a Quest by Dr. Jason Fox

I highly valued Jason's first book 'The Game Changer' and so was eagerly looking forward to reading this one. I was not disappointed.

Jason has an easy to read style yet the depth of his thinking is engaging and compelling.

Here are my 3 key highlights:

1) I love Jason's continual reference to making meaningful progress.

Those of you familiar with my work know that 'The Progress Principle' is a key to how my clients measure our work together, yet alone how many of them track their own progress.

2) The insight that while we're doing the everyday doing work (operational certain work), to stay relevant and to thrive we must also be experimenting by doing pioneering work (uncertain).

3) The great summary of key daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly and decade rituals ("conscious routines we hold sacrosanct")

Be remarkable.

Get your copy of 'How to Lead a Quest - a handbook for pioneering executives' here.

Monday, 21 August 2017

The simple solution to the sad and stupid dual citizenship debacle

Senator Nick Xenophon is the latest Australian politician to declare he didn't know he has dual citizenship. He's going with others to the High Court to see if his breaking of the rules can be overridden. Who is paying for all this? That's right you and me, the taxpayers!

The simple solution to all this is stop all the nonsense, do an audit on every politician, declare an amnesty, let them renounce their citizenship of other countries, and let's all move on.

Why is this common sense solution not happening? My answer is politicians major in minors in order to drive self-interest and therefore fail to see simple solutions to problems.

In despair with those who pretend to govern.
Above cartoon courtesy of this link

Friday, 18 August 2017

What are the alternatives to politics and politicians?

I don't have any clear answers to this question.

Brexit, Trump, and now the lack of common sense and humanity in Australia about dual citizenship and marriage equality have tipped me over the edge!

For me marriage equality is a no brainer. The push for what is now a postal opinion poll in Australia is I think the most pathetic excuse for indecision I have come across.

And in the dual citizenship drama we're seeing tasteless opportunism by the Opposition party and a complete lack of common sense by anyone when the answer is simple, people renounce what they didn't know about and everyone moves on. The thought of a hung parliament, by elections and high court challenges etc etc is simply beyond belief.

I'm up for conversation that would lead to action to change the status quo.

If like me you're frustrated, annoyed, saddened or in any way feel disenchanted with politics and politicians, please give me a call. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Who knows we may start a movement the ends the stupid, senseless, self-interest of party politics that results in mediocrity, mayhem and a mess in more ways than one that we would all like cleaned up.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

What's the plan Malcolm? guest post by Mark Hodgson

This is a guest post by Mark Hodgson.

Demise of this great country

I love travelling. There’s no better way to create a new perspective. After three weeks overseas I’ve found myself reviewing my thoughts on Australia. I think we’ve lost the plot. As a strategist, mentor and consultant, I work with businesses and individuals to create a better future. We work to set a vision and a plan to achieve it. So what’s the plan for Australia? I don’t know. I can’t see it – and neither can many smart people I’ve asked. It seems we are in a rudderless ship of fools. That’s a problem.

Leadership gone missing

English Kings are given nicknames encapsulating their best-known attributes. Ethelred the Unready, Edward the Confessor, Alfred the Great. The last decade has seen a run of appalling Australian leaders. Rudd, Gillard, Rudd, Abbot and now Turnbull. I think he’ll go down as Malcolm the Disappointing. Apparently a brilliant man, he has his head in the sand and up his arse at the same time! Whilst anatomically impressive, it’s depressing. He is the latest in a parade of ‘leaders’ who can’t or won’t lead.

Under the watch of this lot (from both political persuasions remember), the national debt has increased from $50 billion in 2007 to $550 billion today. Oh and we had a resources boom – the proceeds of which appear to have been pissed up against the wall of vanity and vote-buying.

From my home office I run a business. I win and serve clients from all over the planet. Clever, affordable and time-saving tech makes me probably ten times more effective than a decade ago. Applying the same principle, the size of government will have correspondingly reduced right? Wrong. With a few exceptions, both state and federal government are the same size or larger than ten years ago. Why?

Small thinking the norm

That’s no way to run a railroad. Talking of which, NSW Government has just admitted that it’s poster child light rail project will not be compatible with other similar light railways in Sydney. You see no standard format has been agreed. Yes, that’s right. The Victorians nutted out this stuff 150 years ago, but it’s a bridge too far for the myriad and well-paid executives of Transport NSW (none of whom appear to be losing their jobs for gross incompetency).

This is one of a million examples of small, parochial thinking. Disappointing Malcolm signed off on building Australia’s next generation diesel electric submarine fleet in South Australia in the knowledge they would be 30% more expensive. That’s a waste of $15 billion. Obscene doesn’t begin to describe it. Not to mention that we really need nuclear submarines given the vastness of our ocean territory.

Don’t mention the war

Nuclear is one of the many conversations we can’t even begin to have. Whether it’s nuclear submarines, nuclear energy (for which Australia has a persuasive business case – stable continent, uranium deposits, electricity crisis, low-emissions commitment) or nuclear storage as a new industry for financial basket case South Australia (ditto), it’s considered political hara kiri to even talk about it.

I am not claiming that these things are easy or necessarily right. But as a mature, clever economy, surely we are smart enough to be able to discuss possibilities in the quest for the best way forward. As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote,

“the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

Not only is our ‘first-rate intelligence’ out to lunch, our right to vigorous debate and the free speech has gone backwards. I for one am appalled that my tax dollars have supported the $400k salary for Professor Gillian Triggs. You can’t make this stuff up. What is more worrying is the meekness with which we appear to have accepted the new status quo of public debt, piss-poor performance and what’s-in-it-for me mindset.

Politics of Envy

Complex problems are cast in the binary tones of pantomime. It’s the fault of ‘the rich’ or ‘unions’, ‘the big-end-of-town’ or ‘welfare bludgers’. We can’t discuss budget correction because our leaders are too scared. No one can be a ‘loser’. My maths aren’t perfect, but I am pretty sure that you can’t take more and/or give less without someone being worse off. We need to have that conversation as mature citizens. As a country we’re acting like a student with their first credit card. As long as we can pay off the monthly minimum life’s sweet.

We urgently need reform to create the 21st century platform for a 21st century country. Instead we cling on to anachronistic institutions and thinking. The Senate is madness. In what universe does it make sense that Tasmania (population 515,000) has the same voting representation as neighbouring Victoria (population 5,700,000)? State governments were the product of a Victorian era Federation in the age of the horse. Do we need them in our hyper-connected digital age?

Time to have a go

You can poke holes in my arguments and disagree of course. This is not a uniquely Australian malaise. Many other economies are on similar trajectories and equally poorly-led. How Theresa May missed the open goal that is Jeremy Corbin in the recent UK snap election is mind-boggling. They are stuffing up Brexit and there’s Trump of course.

But this is Australia. We have an extraordinary range of unique advantages. Debt is still relatively low and – with sensible policy decisions – can be reversed. We can control our borders. We are on the doorstep of the fastest-growing economic region in what we are promised is the ‘Asian century’. We have vast natural resources. Most importantly, we are home to many brilliant minds and organisations – both large and small. I work with some of them and am inspired and optimistic about what is possible by harnessing their energy, passion and creativity.

Your job Malcolm is to harness this potential. Becoming Prime Minister is not the prize. Doing something meaningful when you get there is. You are a smart man. Go out swinging! Move me with a plan, not just a robotic “jobs and growth” mantra. Be remembered as someone who had a red hot go. You’ll gain respect and – who knows – you just might rekindle in enough of us the idea that society is more about what we give than what we get.

John F. Kennedy challenged his countryman to,

“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

That’s an excellent starting point.

I’m in.

Are you?

About Mark here.

PS When I first read this post on Mark's blog and in emailing him to get his permission to post here I commented - "The real challenge I think is the political system. It means the tail wags the dog and mediocrity is the usual result."

Your thoughts?

Who will you become? 

What will you do next?

Monday, 14 August 2017

Leaving Your Legacy While You're Alive

We all want to leave a legacy. And particularly while we're alive!

Stephen R. Covey says this is one of four basic human needs and motivations of all people. More from Stephen shortly.

I've been reflecting a lot on legacy lately as I enter what may turn out to be the swansong period of my business life.

Initially my reflections were focused on Zig Ziglar's famous insight

This led me to zeroing in on what my clients value the most, which in turn led me to the design of my possible swansong work which I explore here.

Being willing and able to fully appreciate and get the best out of themselves and other people tops the list for my clients.

Stephen R. Covey's book, The 8th Habit From Effectiveness to Greatness, and my favourite of his works, sheds wonderful light on this subject.

The 8th Habit is Find Your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs. Covey defines voice as "unique personal significance" which he illustrates in Figure 1.2 in the book as pictured below.

He defines the elements of above as follows:
Talent (your natural gifts and strengths)
Passion (those things that naturally energise, excite, motivate and inspire you)
Need (including what the world needs enough to pay you for)
Conscience (that still, small voice voice within that assures you of what is right and that prompts you to actually do it)

I've been privileged in my own best way to help many people to find their unique personal significance (voice) over the 45 years of my working life so far.

While rereading Covey I googled voice and came across this great article 'Develop Your Voice, Not Your Brand' by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Here's some of the article:

The idea of developing your personal brand is a bad one, according to Sandberg. “People aren’t brands,” she says. “That’s what products need. They need to be packaged cleanly, neatly, concretely. People aren’t like that.”

“Who am I?” asks Sandberg. “I am the COO of Facebook, a company I deeply believe in. I’m an author. I’m a mom. I’m a widow. At some level, I’m still deeply heartbroken. I am a friend and I am a sister. I am a lot of very messy, complicated things. I don’t have a brand, but I have a voice.”

Focus on developing your voice, she says. Figuring out what’s important to you and being willing to use your voice for that purpose is incredibly valuable. “If you are doing it to develop your personal brand, it’s empty and self-serving and not about what you’re talking about,” she says. “If you’re doing it because there is something you want to see changed in the world, that’s where it will have value and depth and integrity.”

So leaving your legacy while you're alive has much to do with Stephen R. Covey's 8th Habit: Find Your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs. 

Who will you become? What will you do next?

If you'd like some help please give me a shout.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Is the art of conversation dying in the Digital Age? guest post by Andrew Thorp

This is a guest post from my friend and colleague in the UK Andrew Thorp.

Recently in Manchester’s Northern Quarter I’ve been giving a series of talks organised and promoted through a platform called Funzing. It’s a great concept that seems to be inspired by TED talks – speakers delivering all manner of topics to engage and inform an audience, all for a modest ticket price of £10-12.

Having already spoken on 3 occasions on the topic of “What makes you YOU?” (what it means to tell your story), I wanted to explore a fresh theme and last week we ventured into a current and somewhat controversial subject - social media and its impact on our communication habits.

You might think it’s an exaggeration to claim that the art of (face-to-face) conversation is dying, but the image of people seated around a dinner table each staring at their smartphones has become commonplace in recent years – and it worries me. 

So, I thought it would be interesting to address a group of people (last week’s audience were predominantly 20-30 years of age) and canvas their opinion. To my surprise, these digital natives were almost unanimous in their concern about the way that social media and online communication has come to dominate the lives of their friends, colleagues and even themselves.

Image credit Johnny Magrippis Creative Commons

My main interest was how the ‘digital habit’ is impacting our ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations and I’ve been fascinated recently by the findings of academic and author Sherry Turkle. A professor at MIT in America and a psychologist/sociologist by trade, Turkle has long championed the opportunities created by digital technology, but over the years she’s become increasingly concerned that we’ve got things out of balance.

This isn’t just a gut feeling on her part; it’s supported by hundreds of interviews carried out with colleagues, students, business owners and others, all of whom have strong views when it comes to the way we communicate.

Here are some of the issues she highlights in her book Reclaiming Conversation; the Power of Talk in a Digital Age, many of which we explored last week:

Face-to-face conversations are just too scary!

The prospect of having an actual conversation leaves some people cold. They worry about the loss of control and the need to reply in the moment without the time to formulate their response, edit and deliver it when they’re ready.

The loss of empathy

Turkle interviewed many teachers who were concerned that school kids were not able to empathise with others, to properly understand how a text message or Facebook post might affect someone’s feelings. They spoke of a 'de-sensitising' effect on the kids. It’s all done at a distance; you don’t need to look people in the eye when you ‘unfriend’ them or say something unkind.

The need to be ‘on call’

Many of Turkle’s interviewees spoke of a sense of responsibility to their online network, a feeling of needing to be constantly ‘on call’, just in case someone wanted to contact them. In a sense these are conversations, but I share her concern that this need to be available leaves no time for quiet solitude, of simply being alone with one’s thoughts.

Conversations about what’s on your smartphone

Watch a group of young people around a table and invariably they’ll be sharing images and videos with each other and reacting to them. In other words, conversations are often about what’s on their smartphones. On the face of it that’s fairly innocuous – I’ve done it myself with my kids – but I wonder if there’s a danger that we’ll lose the ability to converse and tell stories when there’s a digital pre-recorded version to hand which saves us the bother.

The need to record and share

I recall hearing an interview with a man who organised hot air balloon trips over the Serengeti. He expressed sadness that his customers wanted to record the trip on a digital device instead of experiencing it through their natural senses. One has to question the motivation for recording and sharing such footage. Like a wedding, it’s understandable to want to record a special moment for posterity. But do we simply want to feel good about the likes and shares we get by posting it on social media? Is this the way we measure our self-worth?

Sourcing help

There was a fascinating passage in Turkle’s book about a couple of young women, quite close friends, who had an interesting interaction. One received an upsetting text from her boyfriend (a kind of ‘remote breakup’) and her friend tried to console her as they chatted over a drink. But within 5 minutes the injured party was texting her other friends (who were not present) and responding to their reactions, ignoring the friend who was physically next to her. I think it’s regrettable that she was prioritising her wider "consolation network" over the friend who was present and willing to provide her with face-to-face support. Perhaps when there are all those other people ‘out there’ we worry what we’re missing if we focus on one person.

I’m a huge fan of social media and the opportunity it affords us to voice our opinion and build influence. But I am worried that it’s squeezing out those precious moments when we breathe the same air and learn how to find a connection. 

An interpersonal skill is like a muscle – if we don’t keep using it there’s a danger it will shrivel up and become ineffective. Face-to-face conversations (like the ones recorded for Radio 4’s The Listening Project) are moments to be cherished. They help us develop critical skills like the ability to:


Give feedback sensitively

Tell stories

Explain concepts

Read people


Build relationships

Pause and reflect

I love this quote by actor Stephen Fry:

Conversation is the improvised jazz of the English language 

The beauty of a conversation is not knowing where it will go and having to improvise on the spot. Even actors who memorise a script will point out that acting is actually about reacting – not just to the words they hear but to micro expressions, tone, body language, energy, etc. Live, interpersonal conversations help us develop these skills; they’re immensely important in interviews, presentations and other influencing situations. They build confidence and help us navigate our way through life.

Let’s occasionally put down our smartphones, engage someone in dialogue and stay very much in the moment. It’s worth it.

Andrew Thorp is a coach, trainer and consultant in the field of business communication. He works with companies both large and small, through the School of Mojo and on bespoke projects. His mission is to help leaders become more confident and persuasive speakers and to humanise and 'storify' business communication.