Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Is it time to reset your structure and systems?

I was fascinated to hear Carlton Football Club Senior Coach Brendon Bolton talk about structure and system reset in a recent post game press conference. (Disclaimer I am a Carlton supporter!)

He was referring to time out in the game due to an injury to an opposition player. Brendon commented "we got a few messages out, our leadership group did a great job in spreading the messages, and we got our systems and structures reset."

Grasping this opportunity Brendon felt was a key to winning the game.

There are many opportunities to reset your structure and systems in your business. Are you making the most of them?

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Digital technology is a means not a strategy

The above graphic is from this excellent research document by the Alimeter Group which you can download yourself here.

I meet many people who think technological change and transformation is the be all and end all for their business success. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Thriving On The Challenges Of Change Manifesto

Be remarkable.

PS Scroll down here and you'll find all of my manifesto's, the above plus Changing What's Normal, Remarkablisation, The Appreciative Leader, and BS Free Workplaces.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Are you scaling your business into irrelevance?

I came across the above statement here.

It got me thinking about my own professional practice and my client's businesses.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Turning a 'hunch' into your next big thing

For several months now I've had the following statement on my office wall as a visual reminder:

"Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do." 
Steve Jobs

I stopped travelling all over the place all the time for my work about 5 years ago. My goal was to work 90% of the time with people whose primary place of business is no more than a couple of hours from my home, as well as working more online.

Contemplating Steve's statement every day has helped me to get it mostly right for me yet I still believed I had a missing piece.

I had plenty of ideas running around in my head.

Then I read Bernadette Jiwa's latest work pictured.

The subsequent personal work I did working through the exercises in the book got me over the line on my new flagship work which you can read about here.

I've consumed all of Bernadette's books and read her regular blog posts and contemplate them all very carefully.

Along with Seth Godin and a couple of other people Bernadette has changed marketing forever in my view.

What I particularly value about 'hunch' is the Over To You sections in the book where you take action based on Bernadette's great structure and prompts, as well as stories she has previously shared.

I highly recommend 'hunch' which you can purchase here.

Be remarkable.

PS 'hunch' was the first physical book I've bought for awhile. It was really great to hold a real book again and to leave it on my desk, in the library, on the lounge room coffee table etc, while I was working with it. I have a hunch things that we can touch and feel might be making a comeback!

Friday, 16 June 2017

How to make the shift from knowledge work to meaningful work

There's a lot to love about this working class manifesto.

Meaning no disrespect to the author I would replace the word knowledge with human or meaningful.

I believe we've moved on from knowledge work.

Knowledge might have meant power once. Today trust is power.

Today the most remarkable work is human work. And the key to human work is that it's meaningful.

The author of the manifesto Esko Kilpi nails this himself when he says the following:

Post-industrial business is about doing meaningful things 
with meaningful people 
in a meaningful way.

Machines will soon do most of the algorithmic work, the simple, routine, and repetitive. In the process at least half of the jobs available today will be gone in a decade or less.

The exciting news is that this means human work is increasing in value. The artisan is back. Human work is creative, collaborative, and meaningful.

Human work can also be rare as well as valuable and meaningful as Cal Newport beautifully describes in his wonderful book 'Deep Work'.

One of the key reasons I believe we have past the era of knowledge work and knowledge workers is because knowledge is now accessible via the internet.

Of course knowing doesn't mean wisdom and as Stephen Covey once observed "To know and not to do is really not to know."

How to make the shift from knowledge work to meaningful work

We can all do work that is meaningful to us. A key question to ask is: How can work that is meaningful to us be meaningful and valuable (and rare) for others?


Make a list of all the people you have working relationships with and over time converse with each person to discover how the value you deliver to them can be more valuable, meaningful, and rare to them. Then deliver such value.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

How to find your ikigai

I first came across the Japanese concept of Ikigai in this Linkedin Pulse article by Bruce Kasanoff. Then I read about it again on page 445 of Roger Hamilton's great ebook 'Entrepreneur Inspiration 2017'.

Here's to you finding your Ikigai!

Be remarkable.

Monday, 12 June 2017

How To Guarantee You Have The Best Time In The World

The most common answer I get when I ask people How are you going? is busy, or a number of variations on the theme.

When I really know the person and they know where I'm coming from I often ask; Busy doing what?

It's easy to be busy isn't it?

It's a different thing altogether often to being valuable.

I'd much rather be valuable than busy.

And if I'm being valued as well as being valuable then life doesn't get much better.

Some folk wear being time poor as a badge of honour. There's not enough hours in the day they say. There is actually.

It's easy to get caught up isn't in a seemingly always on 24/7 world and to have lost sight of what actually matters? I too heard myself say to myself the other day, Where did the day go?

It's been said that time is the ultimate non-renewable resource. I find this a sobering thought. Particularly the older I get and when the realisation sinks in that there is much less time left than there's been in my life!

1) See yourself as remarkable and become who you see

In case you need a reminder that we are all remarkable please read here and here or pages 7 and 13 and 14 in the ebook 'Meaningful Work and The Meaning of Life' which you can download here.

Imagine yourself in flow every moment of every day. And when it doesn’t work, stop and be still. Reflect and learn, and start again. The meaning of life is to live a meaningful life.

Imagine yourself not being stressed, just being the best version of yourself in each moment. And when you mess up, take corrective action in the next moment. Move on, no regrets about what you did or didn’t do, and no attachment to what others did or didn’t do.

Imagine no time constraints, just promises you made, agreed to keep, and actually do.

We all have 168 hours this week. Because you and I are one-of-a-kind human beings how we invest in this time is our choice.

My best advice is take W Mitchell’s wisdom to your heart, "It's not what happens to you. It's what you do about it."

2) See other people as remarkable and make it a priority to help them to become who they see

When we feel like we don’t have enough time there are generally three key reasons:
1) We made an unwise choice that seemed fine at the time and it’s been all down hill from there; 2) we and/or the person or people we’re dealing with right now aren’t being the best versions of ourselves, 3) the processes we’re following don’t make it simple for us to be the best version of ourselves and therefore we should modify or change the process before moving on.

In the 8th Habit Stephen Covey defines leadership as “communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it themselves.”

His 8th habit BTW is "finding your voice and helping other people find theirs. " I call it remarkablisation.

However you name it or see it make it your priority, regardless of circumstance or situation, to see other people as remarkable and help them to become who they see.

3) Systematically eliminate everything that’s inhibiting people feeling valued, living values, and delivering value in your team/organisation

The following are the top 21 most common inhibitors I witness. Would you add any to the list? What’s on your list? 

What's the one action you will take next?

1) There’s an absence of visual measuring of progress in meaningful work.

2) There’s no agreed behaviours in place for values.

3) The delivery of value and who to is absent or unclear in role clarity statements.

4) Problem solving & decision making processes not being followed.

5) Mostly problems are solved and challenges met and performance returns to normal rather than opportunities being taken to innovate.

6) Not all processes, policies, procedures, practices, and systems means it’s simple for people to bring the best version of themselves to their work every day.

7) Conversations are avoided where there’s difficulty, conflict, or disagreements.

8) People are trying to manage change rather than lead it.

9) There’s no change process being followed.

10) Decisions are being continually revisited.

11) Documentation is produced in lieu of action.

12) Meetings occur with key players absent.

13) Meetings have no agendas and/or the purpose of them is unclear.

14) Meetings are poorly conducted.

15) Questions about whether the purpose of the meeting was fulfilled aren’t being asked.

16) Whiteboards are full and scoreboards aren’t easily seen.

17) Diaries full.

18) Inbox full.

19) Not enough deep work is being undertaken and shallow work dominates. There’s a majoring in minors.

20) Confusion between what information should be shared and what doesn't need to be.

21) Overall there is a lack of people being appreciated when they do well and a lack of people being held accountable immediately they need to be.

A key is not be feel overwhelmed by any of these inhibitors or those you may have added to the list. The keys are What's the one inhibitor you see right now? and What's the one action you will take next?

Be remarkable.

PS Below is my foundation model for ensuring everyone is having the best time in the world. It comes from The Appreciative Leader handbook.

Friday, 9 June 2017

How to guarantee you'll succeed in the changes you lead

On the first Monday of every month (except December and January) I conduct complimentary symposiums online from 4.30 through 5.30 pm AEST. We explore the 5 foundations for remarkablising your workplace pictured below.

On the 3rd July I start the cycle of five symposiums again.

Before participating in a symposium you download a red paper and in the case of 'Remarkable is the new normal', a workbook. You then take action in your own best way before the symposium.

At the end of the symposium we arrange a time for a 1 hour online after action review and sustaining momentum workshop.

All the detail is at the registration link here.

Approximately 3 hours investment of your attention over 3 months for better business results at less personal cost. It doesn't get much better than this!

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The 19 essentials for remarkable value creation and delivery

The degree of success (or not) of every organisation is determined by value delivery.

Value delivery depends on people feeling valued and living values which are greatly influenced by leadership, management, and culture.

Below is the base model I often use when I begin to work with my clients.

As a general rule before I work with a team, business, or individual, I undertake a remarkability review checking on the 19 areas that I have come to understand are critical for consistent high performance in value creation and delivery.

I rate each area as good signifying basic standards of performance are being achieved; great, performance is better than basic, or remarkable, conspicuously extraordinary performance is happening.

I then document with those accountable agreed actions to be taken in the next 90 days and either schedule a time to come back for an after actions review, or agree with the client on what work I will undertake to help people to take the agreed actions.

The 19 areas critical for consistent high performance in value creation and delivery

People feel valued

1) People are recruited for value delivery role/s and for willingness to live values.

2) Role Clarity Statements (RCS) articulate purpose, value deliverables and to whom.

3) Induction/onboarding begins unleashing and enhancing people's gifts.

4) Personal and Team Performance Improvement Plans are conversation focusing tools along with RCS.

5) L & D framework in place and successfully unleashing and enhancing gifts.

6) Leadership is the art of ensuring people feel valued.

7) There’s a culture of catching people doing the right thing and being appreciated for doing so.

8) Individual and team scorecards show progress in meaningful work.

People live values

9) The organisation’s reason for being (purpose) is clearly articulated and understood as being very different to their results.

10) There’s an intimate awareness of who the organisation serves and the challenges they want to overcome, problems they want solved, and desires they want to fulfill.

11) Values are in alignment with above and are articulated as 5 or less behaviours.

12) People are held to account.

13) Persistent failure to live values means dismissal. No-one is any doubt about this or immune from it.

14) Candid and convivial communication and conversations underpin the culture.

People deliver value

15) Must Have’s, Should Have’s and Nice-to-haves (value) documented for all stakeholder groups and under continual review.

16) There are agreed processes in place for:
Major decision-making
Business development
Turning information into insight into inspiration into ideas into innovation.

17) Operating policies, procedures, practices, and system mean it’s simple for people to deliver value.

18) At transaction and interaction levels everyone is empowered to make decisions.

19) When a problem occurs opportunities are taken to innovate rather than simply solving the problem and returning to the status quo.

You can do your own remarkability review using the above process and this document.

If you'd like some help please give me a shout. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 5 June 2017

I'd be very grateful for your help in improving this blog

Having just entered my eleventh year of writing this blog I'm passionate about making the future better than past.

Therefore I'd be very grateful if you'd be candid and tell me what you'd like more and less of, and how you feel that I can better meet your needs, expectations and desires. 

Just email with your thoughts.

In gratitude and with thanks in advance.

Be remarkable.

PS If you missed the ebook (pictured below) that celebrates my 10 years of blogging with my best learnings over the decade for purpose driven leaders who want to achieve better business results at less personal cost, you can download the ebook by scrolling down here.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Remarkablise Your Leadership Self-directed Achievement Course

I'm delighted to formally announce that this unique online course is now available.

All 5 modules are here.

This is the only leadership development program in the world that I know of where you can choose to make your investment up front or at a time of your choosing as you take action on the proven principles presented in your own best way.

It's also the only leadership development program where you can invest what I'm asking or more or less.

That's right, You decide your investment!

Get started here.

Be remarkable.

PS Should you get to the course page and decide you're not yet ready to do the course then participate in an online or in person event first. Details of upcoming events are here.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

This months posts all in the one ebook

The ebook pictured contains this month's posts and links to more. They celebrate my best learnings for purpose driven leaders from 10 years of blogging.

Your download link is directly under the blogs heading here.

You will need to scroll down until you see the picture opposite.

Be remarkable.

PS Here's to another 10 years of blogging! Thank You for being here.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Focusing on process and remaining detached from outcomes

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

My Grandfather Fredrick Sherriff introduced me to The Law of the Farm as a boy. It is the mainstay of my life.

As a farmer Pa Sherriff knew this law as you reap what you sow. He believed as I do that more often than not if you have fertile ground, plough it, seed it, nurture it, you get a harvest.

Today we phrase this law as what goes around comes around, or you get what you give.

In my Changing What’s Normal book I use this law to explain my perspective on many things and how you can choose to use this law in your own way. If you do not have the Changing What’s Normal book you can download a digital copy via the Gifts tab at my website here.

In the book I explore the five faces of a human being fully alive using the law of the farm as pictured below.

Who will you become? What will you do next to be more alive as a human being?

You might use this change process

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.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

The wonder of weeds

I invest in weeding my garden on a regular basis. As well as the joy of being in nature, having my hands in the dirt, and making my garden pleasing to the eye, physical gardening helps me to think about the weeds that have gathered in my heart and mind.

There's much I can get rid of, misguided intentions, useless emotions, clouded thoughts, actions I'm not taking that I know I must.

What weeds have gathered in your heart and mind that you need to get rid of?

There's wonder in weeds. They're alive as much as the flowers.

Weeds gather and impose themselves in our hearts and minds. If we fail to pay attention and remove them we are hiding the flowers, the beauty our lives have for others.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

And how about your business?

I meet three kinds of business leaders in general,
those tied to the past,
those fixated on the future, or the outcome/result,
and the wise ones, those focusing on process in the present and remaining detached from outcomes.

How wise are you?

You need to be crystal clear about where you’re going or on what outcome/result you want however the secret is then to be the best version of yourself in the moment and to inspire others to be the same.

“Life consists only of moments, nothing more than that. So if you make the moment matter, it all matters.”
Ellen Langer in her great book ‘Mindfulness’

Maximising Your Most Valuable Space will help you too

One of the most valuable skills I've learned and continue to hone in my public speaking work is the pause.

Long ago my speaking coach David Griggs taught me to never speak while moving on the stage, rather to wait until I was still. Another coach Max Dixon calls the pause 'a beat beyond.'

I've learned that careful and considered short pauses, and sometimes long ones, are powerful ways for engaging an audience small and large. I've also learned that silence is indeed golden.

Yet most of all I've learned the power of the pause in every day life. I believe the pause as Viktor Frankl describes it to be your most important space.

My friend and colleague W. Mitchell says: “It’s not what happens to you.  It’s what you do about it”

Whatever happens to you this week, don’t react.  Instead pause, use the space, and then respond in a way that will likely lead you and others to the best possible future.

The moment something happens it’s the past.  We can’t change the past.  We can respond in the present in ways that determine a better future.

Everything depends on how we use this most valuable space, the tiny moment between stimulus and response.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable

Friday, 26 May 2017

The wonders of WYSIATI and WYSINATI

Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman's book 'Thinking, Fast and Slow' which is about the reliability and unreliability of the intuitive and conscious minds and human rationality, irrationality and other thought provoking concepts, made my top 21 recommended reading list for many reasons.

One reason is WYSIATI - What You See Is All There Is. 

I made up WYSINATI because I believe it is also a key part of our lives. What You See Is Not All There Is!

For me WYSINATI is a key to successfully working together.

The songwriter Scott Wesley Brown wrote “No one of us has got it all together, but all of us together got it all.”

Take time regularly to be aware of how bias effects your decision making and make a concentrated effort to find out how other people see situations. You will find this is crucial to sustaining shared-view in the seven areas of significance where the most successful leaders stand out.

I've written about the seven areas extensively. Below is an overview and a link for your further work.

There are three worlds.  The world in here, that’s my world.  The world out there, that’s your world. The world that really matters though is the world we share (ours).

Think about this - all the troubles of our world can be traced to a pre-occupation with the world in-here or the world out-there, rather than the world we share (ours).

Stop focusing on your view or trying to change someone else’s view and have the courage to get in the middle.

You can download a special, short blue paper that will help you here. This will get you working in your own best way on the seven areas of significance as follows:

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

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Co-creating culture is a never-ending process where candour is key

Every person is accountable for sustaining a remarkable culture in your business, otherwise your business is vulnerable to disruption. Therefore I say co-creating culture is a never-ending process.

Corporate anthropologist Michael Henderson says
"Culture is;

“What it means to be human here.”  (‘Here’ being wherever you are referring to when talking about a culture.)

“ An unwritten social contract that turns a person into a people."

and Michael says A High Performance Culture is;

"A culture that clearly defines and inspires people to be at their best, perform at their best and serve others."

These definitions align with my foundational model for purpose-driven business success pictured below:

Although every person is accountable for the culture of your business I believe it is also critical to your success to ensure a member of your leadership team has overall accountability.

The purpose of a people and culture role, as it is commonly referred to today, can be stated as follows:

Ensuring there’s leadership commitment, capability, and candour in place that means the majority of people feel valued, are living values, and delivering value.

Candour is key

“Creativity has to start somewhere, and we are true believers in the power of bracing, candid feedback and the iterative process-reworking, reworking, and reworking again, until a flawed story finds its through line or a hollow character finds its soul. ”
Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, in a wonderful book Creativity, Inc.

Candour is critical to the culture of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and a key reason for their long term success. And it can be at your place too.

5 essentials for co-creating a culture of candour

1) Be purpose driven. Three actions you can take here.

2) Ensure being candid and convivial is integral to all communication and conversations.

We’ve already explored the 8 conversations that count here.

3) A further key factor in this is naming elephants in the room.

Most of what could be better about an organisation is known yet unsaid (it is said underground and away from the organisation). For 26 years I have been walking into organisations as an adviser and I am told, usually within an hour, of what could be better and yet no one has raised issues with insiders for fear of reprisal or fear for their jobs and other nasty reasons. A common reason is a cultural issue of not talking about what can be perceived as unpleasant. Candour overcomes this.

Sometimes I name the elephants myself. I am not for everyone for I confront BS and help people to humanely remove warts, skeletons in closets, and elephants from boardrooms, offices, factories and shops.

Once or twice I have been thrown out for doing so! Mostly I mentor people to name the elephants themselves. The outcome usually is relief and very quickly elephants are removed. Soon creativity and innovation happen. Often the reaction is why was this not spoken about before?

The known not being said and a failure to excel at having conversations about performance when there is difficulty, conflict or disagreement is costing organisations billions, probably trillions. The biggest cost though is to human life. 

In the Stephen Covey book previously referenced ‘The 8th Habit’, he says there are four chronic problems in organisations 1) no trust 2) no shared vision and values 3) Misalignment and 4) disempowerment. I see these four even in the very best organisations. The cause more often than not is a lack of candour.

Candour according to the Cambridge Dictionary is
the quality of being honest and telling the truth, especially about a difficult or embarrassing subject.

synonyms for candour:
frankness, openness, honesty, candidness, truthfulness, sincerity, forthrightness, directness, lack of restraint, straightforwardness, plain-spokenness, plain dealing, calling a spade a spade, unreservedness, bluntness,outspokenness; informal telling it like it is.

Diplomacy is not the answer to the troubles in our world, not if this means smiles and handshakes, double-talk, and dancing around the truth.

Most of the great disasters of my life-time could have been avoided, and most of the trouble in organisations too. 

Are you the someone on the inside who speaks up and does so long before a consultant, auditor or diplomat arrives?

If you know it, speak it, otherwise you are guilty of wilful blindness and a tragedy could be about to happen.

To speak out effectively a lot of work needs to be done to ensure mutual respect, safety, and adopting the philosophy in ethics of enlightened self-interest, which Zig Ziglar famously captured when he said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

If you are afraid, for whatever reason, to be candid, please find an ally inside and/or seek outside help today.

A great place to begin is watch Margaret Heffernan's TED talk.

I am a big fan of Margaret for her excellent book 'Wilful Blindness' which sadly I see a lot of in my work. Wilful blindness is one of the great barriers to progress in the world today.

If you know it, speak it.

Saying what you know might just be the beginning of co-creating a culture of candor. You’re authenticity and willingness to be vulnerable will inspire others. Very soon spin, BS and wilful blindness will be assigned to history.

Courage is required

Being candid is not easy. Being on the receiving end is often not easy either. 

The death of my best friend in May 2011 hit me very hard. Until I was given some candid feedback (and feedforward) I hadn’t realised how down I had become and in fact had lost my mojo. I found it very difficult to receive candour and in fact fought it initially. I am forever grateful to the person who had the courage to be candid with me because eventually through it I was able to restore my well-being.

“Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile.”
Paolo Coelho 

Are you a connoisseur of candor? Your friends, family, and work colleagues will be grateful (sometimes eventually!) if you are.

Being a connoisseur of candour is one of the eight roles that Appreciative Leaders play remarkably well. If you haven’t already done so please consider getting your copy of the handbook today. Check it out here. 

In addition to being purpose driven, being candid and convivial in all communication and conversations, and naming elephants in the room, the final two essentials for co-creating a culture of candour are:

4) Work with others and come up with a one sentence description of your culture. More on this here.

5) Determine the behaviours that mean people are living your values.

There’s 5 minute video to watch and further insights, inspiration and ideas about this here.

Such behaviours underpin your culture. They are integral to people feeling valued and delivering value.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The powerful paradoxes of choice and chance

“The history of free man is never written by chance but by choice - their choice.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

In ‘The 8th Habit’, my favourite Stephen R. Covey book, he refers to our freedom to choose as our first birth gift.

The eighth habit is "Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs."

Tap into the above by genuinely empowering people to make the every day decisions in your business.

In my slideshare below you’ll see research that suggests at least half the decisions made by business leaders are not the best decisions that could be made.

You mitigate the risks associated with the best decisions not being made by empowering people to make every day decisions and by adopting a process for big decisions like the one in slide 10 of the above slideshare.

I love Nordstrom, the US department store. Their employee manual says:

We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. Rule #1: Use best judgement in all situations. There are no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

What does your employee manual say?

Take a chance with the above actions and you will greatly rehumanise your leadership and management, and paradoxically you’ll reduce human error in the big and every day decisions made.

Decision-making structures and systems like those referred to above are a key part of ensuring that your management (processes, policies, procedures, practices, and systems) mean it is simple for your people to bring their very best to their work every day.

We choose our thoughts and our emotions

I read a great insight in the Virgin Airlines Voyeur magazine from performance psychologist Dr. Phil Jauncey:

“There is a big misconception in sport and the corporate arena in which people think you need to get your mind right to perform, but that’s not true.

Mental toughness isn’t the ability to get your mind right before an event, it’s being able to execute when your mind is saying you can’t.”

In the article Jauncey is also quoted as saying that there are four reasons we fail under presssure:
“we don’t know what to do
we don’t know how to do it
we don’t have the ability to do it
we choose not to do it”.

I agree with all of these.  We choose not to do it was the one that got me really thinking.  In my reflections I contrasted Jauncey’s insights with some great thinking in the book ‘Resilience’.

“For most of us, emotions are things that happen to us.” Zolli and Healy say in their book.  They go on to say “Researchers who study mindfulness and attention often conceive of our emotions differently. In their view, emotions are not things that happen to us.”  My take from reading the book is that we choose our emotions just as we choose our thoughts.

What are you choosing to feel and think today?

If you don’t know what to do or how to do something you can learn.

We also need to be candid with ourselves if we simply do not have the ability to learn how to do something.

What we choose is what really matters.

What are you choosing to feel and think today?

And could you change what’s normal in your life and make better choices for your well-being and growth?

“It’s not what happens to you.  It’s what you do about it”

I am a big fan of W Mitchell the originator of the above statement.  If you ever have the chance to hear Mitchell speak, don’t miss it! Of all the 1000's of speeches I have heard I remember his the most.

Whatever happens to you this week, don’t react.  Instead respond in a way that will likely lead you to the future you want.

The moment something happens it’s the past.  We can’t change the past.  We can respond in the present in ways that determine a better future.

The paradox of profits

Embrace a particular paradox - the paradox of profits, and you'll unleash human energy and creativity in your business as this short paper from John Mackey and Raj Sisodia beautifully articulates.

In the 26 years that I've been helping business owners and leaders to focus on reasons I know beyond any doubt that when we focus on reasons, results take care of themselves.

What are you choosing to focus on, results or reasons?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 19 May 2017

You need a change process not a change program

Change management like strategic planning and performance management are in my view the 3 great oxymorons of business. Please read more of my thoughts on these here.

Change leadership, strategy and execution plans, and performance leadership on the other hand, are crucial to achieving your best results. Check out this post for more on performance leadership.

A framework these 3 can operate successfully within I call a change process. No-one needs a change program; Everyone wants 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. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Celebrations/Ceremonies/Rituals we never get tired off

We human beings never get tired of being genuinely appreciated.

Our dog Molly (and Blake, Karma, Bodie and Rebel before her) reminds me daily of the awesome power of the number one food for the soul - feeling appreciated. Whether I’ve been gone for 5 minutes or 5 hours doesn’t matter to Molly. She greets me in the same enthusiastic way that says loudly “I’m so glad you’re back.”

“The deepest human desire is the craving to be appreciated.”
William James

What celebrations/ceremonies/rituals could you adopt/begin in your workplace that inspires/reminds/persuades people that they are genuinely appreciated?

In 2012 on the recommendation of my colleague Maria Carlton who is a best selling author and publisher, I purchased a book by Derek Mills The 10 Second Philosophy®.  Derek is known as The Standards Guy®

Derek’s book is about having standards instead of goals.  It is a very refreshing read and I have added his book to my recommended reading list.

For many years my focus has been about following rituals, what Derek calls standards.  I know that if I follow the right processes for me then the outcomes take care of themselves.

Is your focus on outcomes or processes, goals or standards, results or rituals?

Some people live in the past, stuck usually with intentions, feelings and a mindset about what has happened.  We can’t change the past.  We can view what has happened with different feelings and new eyes.  We can see failure as a learning opportunity for example rather than as a negative.

Some people live in the future, stuck usually with intentions, feelings and a mindset about what might happen.  We can’t guarantee the future.  We can vision what is possible and take one step at a time towards possibility.

The most successful and happy people who I know live in the present.  We can change the present.  We can control what happens within the sphere of what is in our control, our intentions, feelings, thoughts, and actions.  Sure it is important to have direction, goals, targets, to begin with the end in mind.  The trick though is to focus on the now.  This is what processes, standards or rituals can do for us.

So again I ask

What celebrations/ceremonies/rituals could you adopt/begin in your workplace that inspires/reminds/persuades people that they are genuinely appreciated?

Here are three suggestions

1) Send 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 people 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”. 

2) Have regular appreciation and accountability conversations

The Double A Technique below is an example.

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)

In this video I demonstrate the above technique 

A key to the success of all conversations is having tools that focus the conversation

Performance Possibility Plans and Role Clarity Statements are two such tools. There’s two short videos and further resources about these two here.

3) Ensure eight conversations are integral to daily life and work.

At the above link I reference The Appreciative Leader handbook. In the handbook I detail 8 conversations that enable celebration, ceremony, and rituals. Below is a snapshot.


Imagine the leader who announces to her team/community/constituents:

"I've heard myself say to myself lately that I haven't really connected with you on X.

I believe I can explain my intentions, feelings, and thoughts much better.

I'd really appreciate your help."

Do you feel/think most people would respond positively to such statements? I reckon most people would.


And so the door is now open for feedforward which is of far greater value than feedback.

Feedforward is a great concept from Marshall Goldsmith.

Feedforward is suggestions from others that provide insight and foresight for you to change your behaviour.

Peer Review

Feedforward helps to make peer review conversations more candid and convivial.

Peer review is the daily conversations you have with your peers that appreciate remarkable work and help everyone to be accountable.

Having focusing tools is paramount. Role Clarity Statements and individual Performance Possibility Plans (PPP's) previously referenced are essential.

After Action Reviews

These are structured conversations that appreciate what was remarkable, great, good, bad, and ugly about a specific action; imagine what can be next time; create/update PPPs in ways that reflect agreed personal and business behaviour changes, and stay, stop, start actions.

After Action Reviews are powerful when you and your colleagues are in the habit of sharing your self-talk, and are engaging in feedback, feedforward, and peer review.

Weekly Check-ins

Weekly Check-ins ritualise conversations.

These are short, sharp, weekly meetings online and/or in person where individuals and/or teams review what's happened and what's next, and agree on actions and accountability for the coming week.

Weekly Check-ins are also great for continuous celebration of what's going well and to explore what can still be better.

Mentor Moments

Appreciative Leaders have mentors and are being mentors for others and so Mentor Moments are integral to conversations.

Mentor Moments are informal and unstructured as well as formal and structured conversations.

If you aren't yet enjoying the high value of Mentor Moments as both a mentor and a mentee then get started today if not sooner.


The vast majority of successful people I know are part of one or more master-mind groups (people mutually committed to each others’ success who meet regularly).

Each of the 8 conversations that really count explored above are critical to successful master-mind groups.

The most successful teams are master-mind groups. Is yours?


I’ve left feedback till last because I believe it’s the least most important conversation.

"We've listened to your feedback" say the politicians, business, and other leaders. How well you've listened will be determined by your actions.

Feedback is about the past. Often it’s biased opinion based on self-interest. In my case I'm from the Alan Weiss school - I ignore feedback I didn't ask for!

Your turn!

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The Art and Science of Scorecards/Scoreboards and Meaningful Metrics Matter Most

The Balanced Scorecard book by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, published 20 years ago, put forward a key premise for creating measurements of performance that are meaningful for people, that of measuring the intangible being just as important as measuring the tangible. I value the book and it's insights.

I've observed a myriad of 'balanced scorecards' in operation in businesses. Sadly most fail because of too many moving parts.

Suggested solutions

An edict that was prevalent in my early days in business (and still is in some workplaces today!) was the concept 'what gets measured gets done.' Ruth Henderson, one of the Founders of Whiteboard Consulting Group Inc., makes 4 great recommendations about this concept, and meaningful measuring in general, in a Forbes article here.

Ruth's recommendations:

1. Understand the difference between a measure and a metric.

2. Understand the difference between an Outcome metric and a Performance metric.

3. Figure out what you want to know before you start measuring things.

4. Design your report to tell a story.

My suggested solutions are to embrace Ruth Henderson's 4 recommendations in your own best way.

Begin by ensuring that you fully understand the difference between measures and metrics, then start with number 3., then focus on performance metrics (lead measures), and finally excel at number 4 i.e. visuals that tell a story.

My blog post here will help you with lead measures in particular.

A strong recommendation is that you work with individuals and help them to focus on no more than 3 lead measures per quarter that are in alignment with their personal goals as well as those of your business.

The founder of Buy One Give One Masami Sato's 'Impact Score' is a fine example of the power of a visual to tell a meaningful story.

Interesting take on lead measures and visuals (as below) from Verne Harnish here.

The most simple yet profound way to determine what features on your scorecards or scoreboards in your business is to ask people what’s meaningful to them and how best could this be visually represented for them?

Recently as part of helping a client to create visual scorecards I asked several people what would they most like to know about their performance?

A common answer was just knowing for certain whether or not other people truly felt they were delivering on their promises.

Obviously this could be visualised in many different ways. There’s no limits to human creativity.

Your turn!

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Like some help? Give me a call. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 12 May 2017

The principles of progress and the progress principle

To help my clients to remove the cause/s underlying their stress I introduce them to the science of quantum leaps:

We then work together through the following change process:

Soon people become much less anxious about the future and only focus on the next quantum leap.

A key to sustaining positive momentum (and not feeling the strain of negative stress) is the visualisation of progress.

I work with my clients to create appropriate scorecards and scoreboards so that progress is always visible.

This is not all just pretty pictures. The science is known as The Progress Principle, one of Harvard Business Review's breakthrough ideas. The key, and what people are passionate about is, "making progress in meaningful work."

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

PS If you'd love some help with making progress visible in your workplace please contact me on +61 418 807 898.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Remarkable is the new normal

In November 2014 as part of a Q & A following one of my presentations I was asked what I believed was the world’s greatest challenge. My response in the moment surprised me. I have reflected on it a lot since. I haven’t changed my mind. My response "A lot of people need reminding, inspiring, or persuading that they’re remarkable."

Check out why we're all remarkable here.

Remarkable people don’t bully others.

Remarkable people don’t show their lack of intelligence by being violent towards others.

Remarkable people respect views and opinions that are different to theirs.

Remarkable people are passionate and persuasive yet never arrogant enough to think and act as if their way is the only way.

Remarkable people have ditched dogma and instead lead by example.

Remarkable people are not attached to their ideology, belief system, or political party bias, instead they debate ideas and then collaborate to achieve what really is good for humanity.

Remarkable people have roles not jobs. They understand that jobs are part of roles and that all roles are about relationships and delivering value to others as perceived by them.

Remarkable people are candid and authentic. They say what they mean and mean what they say.

Remarkable people promise big and deliver.

Remarkable people do their deep personal work and show it through their acute self-awareness, and therefore their willingness and ability to be highly aware of others.

When remarkable people are in the room, they’re in the room (thank you Nigel Risner).

Remarkable people share powerful stories, the kind that others can see and feel themselves in.

Remarkable people co-create cultures of candour where elephants in the room are named, and closets are absent of skeletons.

Remarkable people tell the truth as they see it, yet never in ways that are a put down of others.

Remarkable people ... Please insert your thoughts.

and email me for publication in this blog in the future.

My life’s work is about solving the human problem that most people don’t yet know they’re remarkable or they’ve forgotten they’re remarkable.

This of course has massive implications for well-being, productivity, and the prosperity of your business and society, let alone the ability for your business to solve the problem that is your purpose.

Imagine the difference it will make to your personal and business life when more people believe they're remarkable and act accordingly!

To help you I have produced this short workbook. Inside are 31 questions for you to answer and act on in your own best way

The download link to this workbook is here.

Be remarkable.

PS I'm conducting a special symposium online on Monday the 5th June on 'Remarkable is the new normal'. Tickets are my gift to you. Claim your present here.