Monday, 25 October 2021

Could you describe your strategy in six words?

I took the background photo above on a trip to Italy in 2008. I didn't know at the time that it would play a significant part in how I would help my clients as well as help myself.

NB The content of this post and podcast has been updated from a Slideshare I produced on June 22nd 2010.

You can listen to the 3 minutes and 48 seconds podcast version here.

Ernest Hemingway believed the following were six of the best words he ever wrote “for sale, baby shoes, never worn.”

Way back in 2010, and building on the insight from Hemingway’s words, my friend Kwai Yu asked two questions in a LinkedIn discussion:

Who are you?

Could you tell the story of you in six words?

Kwai received some extraordinary responses.

They gave me great inspiration, which led to an idea that I implemented. I began asking my clients, could you describe your strategy in six words?

I also developed a simple, fun exercise where participants in my presentations and programs came up with six word or one sentence strategies. Many have been fully embraced. They have helped my clients to thrive in the best of, as well as the most challenging times.

I've asked 100’s of people from all over the world, Could you describe your strategy in six words? There have been many, many memorable answers. 

Adopting a six word or one sentence strategy also means avoiding strategy planning which in my view is an oxymoron and therefore not worth your time and energy. Let alone that by the time you print your strategic planning document it could already be out of touch!

Strategy is like a compass. It’s simply the guide by which you make decisions. It should never be confused with the map i.e your execution plan, or better still your execution process.

Of course living and leading in a pandemic influenced world, let alone other major challenges such as climate change action, a simple yet profound, six word or one sentence strategy is needed now more than ever.

Embracing a six word or single sentence strategy is what wise leaders do.

My own strategy in my professional practice has been nuanced several times in the past twelve years. I help my clients be innovative and to stay ahead of curves and patterns by doing the same in their own best way.

My current one sentence strategy is 5 words:

55% helpful conversations, 45% referrals

By way of explanation helpful conversations for them with people after working with them, or hosting an event, generates 55% of my new clients, while the other 45% come from referrals form current clients. 

My strategy has also played a major role in a choice I made to significantly reduce my working hours (I've got other pursuits in life), yet at the same time embrace the "less but better" principle, while also expanding on the number of people I work with by shifting to group mentoring with 1:1 support, and expanding the number of peer groups I host. 

How would you describe your strategy in six words or a single sentence?

Should you love some help please text me on +61 418 807 898 during business hours AEDT or between 8.30 AM/9.30 AM United Kingdom and Europe time. I will then call you to schedule a 30 minute complimentary conversation where I will provide value and we can agree or not to begin a relationship.

Kind regards


PS You might find inspiration, as I do, from the six word stories website. 

Monday, 11 October 2021

What's your role in bringing the new world to life? (part four of four)

What are the changes you can influence and want to see in the world?

I have three primary changes I'm working on with collaborators and through my unique way way of working with leaders (storytelling and conversations that inspire and enable best people leadership, process innovation, purpose impact).

The first part about personal philosophies is here.

The second part about personal and shared values behaviours is here.

Part three is here. It's about It's about how our personal and shared practices are the precursors to change.

1) Structural changes in society (including workplaces) that better eliminate environmental injustice and economic inequality, and enable personal well-being.

This book has been on my side table for a few weeks now. It is a collection of conversations between progressives about post covid-19 pandemic possibilities.

My favourite is the conversation between Yanis Varoufakis and Johann Hari, two of my favourite authors, Yanis with 'Another Now' and other books, and Johann with 'Lost Connections'.

2) Citizens councils determining our direction and destiny and not politicians

Google citizens councils. Some amazing things happened in Ireland for example where the Catholic Church's archaic wishes were not granted by the council, the people or the parliament.

There are many, many examples out there. I feel citizens councils are zeitgeist.

3) Co-operatives owned by employees being a great influence for good and helping to end the reign of corporations.

I feel this in my bones. Again do your own research. Get your own feel.

Please write to me should any of the above resonate with you or be in tune with your geist.

Helping you to hone your one-of-a-kind way of leading and become the wise leader you want to be


Wednesday, 6 October 2021

What's your role in bringing the new world to life? (part three of four)

 This is part three of four. It's about how our personal and shared practices are the precursors to change.

The first part about personal philosophies is here.

The second part about personal and shared values behaviours is here.

Our financial system is flawed. It increases the inequality gap by advantaging the rich and disadvantaging the poor, and every one in between.

There's a lot of reimagining taking place, as well as action to make the current system obsolete in favour of a system that promotes equality and equity of opportunity and how we can all contribute to societies greater good.

One movement is about replacing current welfare systems with some form of universal basic income.

Recently I discovered a lot of great insights (pro and con) about this via the Humanists Victoria, Australia website. See them all here.

You may also be interested in previous pieces I've posted and podcasted about this:

Are you part of the reimagining money, well-being and jobs movement?

What we owe each other.

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living."

Buckminster Fuller most likely in 1970!

“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.”

Buckminster Fuller

What personal and shared practices are you engaged in to ensure the status quo is serving you and those you live, work and play with?

Here are five of mine:

1) When I meet with clients we follow our warm greetings of one another with a short conversation to answer two questions 1) what's worth celebrating? 2) what can be better? A simple yet profound, short conversation around the questions always keeps us living in the now not the normal.

2) Every morning mostly before doing anything else I make a list of what I'm grateful for. Sometimes my wife and I share what we're grateful for individually and together. We speak out loud during a daily walk.

3) The daily walk is a ritual my wife and I having been undertaking for many years. I also take walks alone to contemplate, and sometimes just simply to enjoy nature.

4) I meditate daily and have done for over 40 years. I use a form of heart felt meditation and breath meditation. An open and warm heart plus a clear mind keep us sharp and aware and free from any kind of complacency or procrastination.

5) When my clients and I part company after conversation we ritually end with our key take aways, the actions we will take, and how we will help each other to be accountable. My work is primarily in peer groups so this is also a great team/peer group/community/sports group exercise. It promotes belonging, living on purpose, and being accountable.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Helping you to hone your one-of-a-kind way of leading and become the wise leader you want to be.


Tuesday, 21 September 2021

What's your role in bringing the new world to life? (part two of four)

This is part two of four.

I'm using this model as a process.

Here's part one about personal philosophies.

There's 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 believe our personal value behaviours and our shared values behaviours are key to bringing Gerd's insights into reality in your own best way.

Personal Values Behaviours

I have five foundational personal values behaviours as follows:

1) Tender-hearted - I let people know they are valued, understood and that they have been heard.

2) Tough-minded - I call out less than agreed standards of behaviour.

3) Tolerance - I celebrate diversity and honour opinions and beliefs different to my own.

4) Truth-telling - I tell the truth as I see it regardless of the situation.

5) Trustworthiness - I never break confidentiality and always keep my promises.

What are your foundational personal values behaviours?

I live eight heart qualities: love, gratitude, appreciation, care, happiness, compassion, harmony, kindness.

You can watch a video and read about them in detail here.

I wrote about these eight heart qualities, and the eight head catalysts and eight hand actions that support them, in my book Heart Leadership Become the wise leader you want to be. Learn more.

What other personal values behaviours in addition to your foundational personal values do you have?

Shared Values Behaviours

The concept of shared-view is fundamental to everything I teach and work on with my clients. 

There's a complimentary self-directed online course with short videos and podcasts here that you can undertake in an hour or so about the seven areas of significance where sustaining shared-view is paramount. The seven are reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, culture. 

Critical to culture is have a shared-view about what the behaviours are for our shared values.

What are your shared values behaviours in your team, peer groups, sporting club, community organisations, family, wherever you belong?

Please give me a call should you like some help.

Here's some further resources and insights that I have found highly valuable

There's two short videos in this post Values Must Be Behaviours. In this post I also reference Dov Seidman's work about the great difference between 'sustainable values' and 'situational values.' There's a list of other insights and resources at the bottom of the post.

I love Brene Brown's work and her complimentary download about values behaviours is very good. Get it here.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Grandpa's Story and The Law of the Farm

This is the third video I've recently changed from private to public viewing settings. The stories and concepts stand the test of time.

The first, My Mother Taught Me, is about role models.

The second, My Father Taught me, is about the five faces of a human being fully alive.

All three of these stories and concepts form part of a complimentary self-directed online course: Reasons, Relationships and Routines Guarantee Results. You can access it here.

Helping you to hone your one-of-a-kind way of leading and become the wise leader you want to be.


Wednesday, 15 September 2021

What's your role in bringing the new world to life? (part one of four)

I have some health challenges currently that I'm in part overcoming through rest and doing very little physically. I've paused a lot of activity (including the number of posts on this blog). FYI I provide a health update at the end of this post. 

I miss my active life yet I'm grateful knowing it's only temporary. During this time of being immobilised I've invested a lot of energy in mediation and contemplation. Presently my feeling is that a lot of what I've paused I actually won't recommence or at very least there will be further nuancing of how I work in particular.

I have continued my long standing habit of reading a book a week. This one will make my top 21 recommending reading list.

It's a very brave and sobering book. The truth portrayed highly resonates with me.

Reading this book reaffirmed a conclusion I reached a very long time ago that politics is a broken system that is failing us.

One of my contemplations has been imagining a world where politics is about collaborations not driven by self-interest and where it's two major parties are more concerned about being right than doing the right thing (America, Australia). More about this in part four. I'm appalled by most aspects of American and Australian politics and believe citizens of both countries must be better served. Here in Australia the I'm right/your wrong or my way is better than yours of our political leaders has cost lives and destroyed many others.

Underpinning my contemplations has been the idea that we will look back at the period in history from 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down as a new renaissance

I've had a sense of a new world being born since I left the corporate world in 1990 and became a mentor for business leaders. A lot has changed in the past thirty+ years. I've become a lot more realistic about change that I can influence. Back them I was just a dreamer. Today I'm still a dreamer yet a being realist keeps me grounded.

The following process has emerged. We will explore personal philosophy in this post and the others in the subsequent three posts.

What's your personal philosophy?

A personal philosophy is your way of being.

It's not your opinions, beliefs or ideologies. They are what they are. The wisest way I have learned to live with them is lightly! This is because I change my mind regularly.

"When the facts change, I change my mind."
famous economist John Maynard Keynes

A personal philosophy is your moral compass. It's about who you are influencing all that you do.

A personal philosophy is your fundamental approach to life regardless of the situation or what other people do or don't do.

My personal philosophy is below. I'd love to know yours. Please write me

Ian Berry's Personal Philosophy

Be true to myself regardless of the situation.

Maintain an attitude of gratitude.

Less But Better.

Some notes for your reflection

"This above all - to thine own self be true"
Polonius to his son Laertes in Hamlet by William Shakespeare 1603

I first faced the life threatening illness of melanoma 45 years ago. It's an ongoing challenge (see a status update at the end of this piece). The first doctor to save my life recommended (before he operated) that I adopt an attitude of gratitude. It's become a life-long habit. 

I've learned the truth behind the theory that happiness is not having what you want, rather being happy with what you have. 

More generally I've learned a wonderful paradox that when we are grateful for what we have we can have more of what we want.

Essentialism' is a book I highly recommend. Essentialism is based on a philosophy of the famous German designer Dieter Rams weniger aber besser, translated "less but better."

Two mentors introduced me to the book in 2015 and I spent a year with their help reinventing my practice and integrating this principle into who I am. 

Adopting "less but better" and integrating it with all my life has been a game changer and a key with the other aspects of my personal philosophy of meeting my current health challenges.

My health update

Recently I developed some ulcerations on my right leg (where the melanoma is) that wouldn't heal. Walking became difficult. The good news I have personal care and treatment that means I'm slowly getting better in this regard. I'm not quite back to being able to take my daily walk yet I am able to get around and take a walk every few days.

Most recently the tablets I once took to keep my melanoma at bay stopped working and I began immunotherapy on September 2nd. So far so good. I'm having minimal side affects that are not a challenge. My second infusion is happening next week.

I've paused some pursuits and some of my complimentary and professional work but for a small amount of ongoing client work. The bottom line is that doing work we love with people who love what we do for them is good for our sanity and our soul.

I'm confident that I will return soon to pursuits I love. I'm very grateful to the support of those of you receiving this who have previously been aware of my situation.

Friday, 10 September 2021

My father taught me

This video was recorded in 2012. It's content stands the test of time and is a part of some of my complimentary self-directed online courses. Learn more about these here.

Helping you to hone your one-of-a-kind way of leading and to become the wise leader you want to be.