Friday, 7 August 2020

The game-changer of checklists

‘The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right’ by medical doctor Atul Gawande wonderfully illustrates how checklists save lives.

We know that DC (during corona) following a 6 point checklist has saved lives. 

I’m sure you’ve seen a version of the following

1. Wash your hands often.
2. Avoid close contact.
3. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
4. Cover coughs and sneezes.
5. Clean and disinfect.
6. Monitor Your Health Daily.

Once not even doctors washed their hands. As the good doctor points out in his book this cost many lives. Importantly doctors adopting the practice as routine has saved many lives.

In operating theatres a leader calls time out to check that everything is in place and all instruments etc are accounted for. This simple checklist has saved many lives and many pre and post operation disasters.

In my work I use checklists for many things to ensure that I never leave anything important or vital out of interactions and transactions. I encourage my clients to adopt checklists as a matter of normal practice. Many report the well-being impact on people as well as financial savings and rewards.

Here’s two examples:

The Future Manifesto

‘The Future Manifesto, 10 guiding principles for co-creating a positive future’ is an ongoing project I am engaged in with colleagues from The Right Company.

Manifesto’s make great checklists. I use The Future Manifesto in a number of ways. One way is to choose one or more of the 10 guiding principles as an overarching theme for my work over a set period of time. For example while writing my Heart-Leadership book June - August 2020 I chose principles 1., 4. & 7. (see below).

So every morning before beginning to write I check-in with these three principles and align my intention through hearing my heart and then asking my head. I then engage my hands and write.

“The 10 guiding principles

1. Focus on inspiration more than motivation.
2. Jump from competition to collaboration.
3. See what emerges when you dance with fear, ambiguity, and not-knowing.
4. Discover the inner energy of your breath and your heart.
5. Your health and that of the world are one.
6. Start your mission to be kinder than necessary.
7. Create something humanity really needs.
8. Move from measurement into the universe of possibility.
9. Join the infinite game and become a compass and guiding star.
10. Take this as a time of opportunities, unique in our history.”

The Career and Life-calling Card

Discovering our life’s work is one of the most fulfilling quests we can achieve. I recommend creating a checklist like the career and life-called card below and reviewing it at least twice a year to see where you’re at and where you could move to.

According to Gallup and many other leading researchers into employee engagement, most of the world’s employees are not fully engaged in their work.

There are many reasons for this disaster.

Often overlooked is the fact that millions of people aren't able or allowed to do what they love in the service of people who love what they do. Hence they're disengaged. A career and life-calling card helps.

I’m am very grateful to the works of Joseph Campbell, Ken Robinson, Steven Farber, Daniel Pink, and Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles for their work in the area of vocation/work/mission/purpose.

The concept of “Follow your bliss” from Joseph Campbell in ‘Hero of a thousand faces’ has always resonated with me since I first read the book over 30 years ago. It means "doing what we can't not do."

In an excellent book ‘The Element - how finding your passion changes everything’, Ken Robinson says about the element “the place where the things we love to do and the things we are good at come together.”

“Do what you love, in the service of people who love what you do.” Steven Farber in ‘The Radical Leap’ is perhaps my favourite line of all time when it comes to meaningful work.

What drives us according to Daniel Pink in ‘A Whole New Mind’ and ‘Drive - the surprising truth about what motivates us.’ Is the three factors below:

“Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives
Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters
Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves”

The Japanese say everyone has an ikigai. The French call it raison d’etre. In their beautiful book ‘Ikigai The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles quote from people born in Okinawa, the island with the most centenarians in the world - “our ikigai is the reason we get up in the morning.”

All of these works and from my own experience in working with people to find their essence I conclude that our life’s work, our reasons for being is found at the intersection between Can do, Will do, Love to do, and People who love what I do. 

I recommend creating a one-page visual checklist Career and Life-called Card where you would feature your answers the following questions:

Can Do

What do I know?
What are my key skills?
What is my real expertise?
How do I practice what I know?

Will do

What is my attitude to living?
What am I really committed to?
How can I be more disciplined in taking action?
How I am really different from others who do what I do?

Love to do

My purpose in life is?
I am passionate about?
I find Joy in?
My art is?
My essence is?

People who love what I do

How do I 
Serve others?
Help people achieve what is important to them?
Solve people’s problems?
Offer solutions to people’s challenges?
Exchange value with other people?
Deliver value to other people?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

One rule to cover many situations

There’s a big focus on rules right now in Victoria Australia where I live. Authorities have declared a state of disaster because of surges with the corona virus. In Melbourne there’s a curfew, the first of my lifetime.

It’s led me to contemplate higher purpose rules as I explore in 1 minute and 13 seconds video below.

“Use good judgement in all situations” has been the one rule at Nordstrom’s for over 100 years.

Ritz-Carlton have their $2000 rule. Employees can spend up to $2,000 per incident to rescue a guest experience.

My one rule is a lot less grand yet profoundly effective. I’m seeking to see the essence in every person I’ve have a conversation with and to reflect their one-of-a-kind significance back to them.

What’s your one rule?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Future Manifesto - 10 guiding principles for co-creating a positive future

I've loved co-creating this manifesto with my colleagues at The Right Company. HT to Michael Wahrheit who leads the project magnificently.

My favourite personal use of this manifesto is to randomly choose one of the 10 principles and use it as a guiding theme for the week. Happenstance has followed!

I highly recommend downloading the 10 principles as cards from the web site here. 

There's also a PDF version that you can download.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Routines are good when they become rituals we love

Listen to the podcast version of this post

In writing my Heart-leadership book this week my attention in part was on a section in the Focus chapter of the book where I explore pre-action rituals. Today’s podcast is part of what I wrote.

Most people working from home are in a routine now. Routines are good when they become rituals we love and that bring us joy. They’re bad when they become ruts we unconsciously fall into.

In all of my work I have pre-action rituals. In the Heart-Leadership book I explore 18 of my regular actions. These are appointments, blogging, helpful conversations, creating online courses, decision-making, eating, emails, Events I’m hosting, Events where I’m a participant, Exercise, Meditation, Podcasting, Researching, Silence, Social media, Videoing, Writing, Publishing.

Some examples of my rituals are:

  • Heart-focused meditation before each action.
  • Deliberately turning my attention to the desires and expectations of the person or people I will be meeting with, sharing, having a conversation, whatever.
  • Taking a moment to be grateful following each action.
  • For major decisions I follow the decision-making process. For every-day decisions warm heart, clear head and a feeling this is the way forward are my criteria. If there is any lack of clarity then I follow the FREEZE-FRAME technique from the people at HeartMath
  • Carol and I shop for locally grown fruit and vegetables together which is another ritual that adds to the overall experience.
  • For Event I lead, I have pre, during and after actions that I know add great value to participants.
  • Exercise. Carol and I walk every day rain, hail or shine.

Below are my broader daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly rituals. Please download as a PDF.

My favourite insight into rituals comes from the 19th century humourist Josh Billings who said “Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability of sticking to one thing until it gets done.”

Of course postage stamps may very soon be a relic of the past, nevertheless the principle of sticking to one thing until it gets done is timeless.

Health challenges have meant having to change my lifestyle and work habits in order to maximise my energy levels.

I have reduced my working hours considerably from 250 hours a month to around 100 hours a month. Not surprisingly to me I have not lost any productivity, am doing my best work, and I am providing better value to my clients. This is possible because of the rituals I follow enable me to maintain my rhythm.

My heart beat is slow. It’s been this way since birth. I do my best work when I am slow and considered. This doesn’t mean that I cannot act fast when needed rather it means that flow happens when I am slow and considered.

Recently I had to have an ultra-sound of my heart done to check on possible side affects from the drugs I have to take to keep my melanoma at bay. It was incredible to watch my own heart beating and the experience gave me a great reminder of my natural rhythm.

What is the pace of your heart beat?
How will you change your rituals to match your circumstances or turn your routines into rituals you love?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Happenstance (coincidence) is a consequence

I believe that coincidence is no accident. I love the word happenstance to describe it.

I find that there's a sequence to happenstance and that coincidence is actually a consequence of deliberate intention, feeling, thought and action.. The sequence is harmony, heart, head and hands. They lead to coherence and happenstance follows.

The following is from the last chapter of my Heart-Leadership book that will be published before the end of 2020.

Harmony, Heart, Head, Hands in this order lead to coherence which in turn leads to happenstance.

“Coherence is the state when the heart, mind and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation,” HeartMath Institute Research Director Dr. Rollin McCraty says. “It is a state that builds resiliency – personal energy is accumulated, not wasted – leaving more energy to manifest intentions and harmonious outcomes.”

Also from HeartMath (same link as above)

“When the physiological coherence mode is driven by a positive emotional state, we call it psychophysiological coherence. This state is associated with sustained positive emotion and a high degree of mental and emotional stability.

“In states of psychophysiological coherence, there is increased synchronization and harmony between the cognitive, emotional and physiological systems, resulting in efficient and harmonious functioning of the whole. … Studies conducted across diverse populations have linked the capacity to self-generate and sustain psychophysiologically coherent states at will with numerous benefits.”

Be remarkable.

PS You may be interested in joining the inaugural Heart-Leadership peer group series online. 4 sessions commencing 25th August. Learn more and register here. There are 3 places still available.

Monday, 27 July 2020

An alternative to the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution

This is a repost from 13th May 2019  I'm currently reviewing the ebook referenced for what content might be included or referenced in my Heart-Leadership book that I am currently writing.

The so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution is an idea that I don't believe in.

It's supporters suggest that The First Revolution was when we shifted to mechanised production, The Second when we shifted to mass production, The Third when digital automates at speed, and The Fourth when technologies mean the lines are blurred between physical and digital. Nothing wrong with these descriptors within themselves.

The reason I don't like the terminology is that first through fourth has meant dehumanisation. We are still recovering from the first in this sense!

In my ebook pictured I offer a different perspective by looking at history through ages namely agricultural, industrial, information and purpose.

This ebook is highly practical.

You'll find it a valuable resource for putting humans first and making sure that technology use is such that it enhances the human experience.

You can download this ebook with my compliments, on the last page of this PDF which contains links to all my digital resources.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Sparkenation conversations are integral to your Heart-Leadership

In writing my Heart-leadership book this week my focus in part was on the the essentials for Sparkenations conversations that are integral to your Heart-Leadership.

A reminder. A Sparkenation is a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal.

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Please also watch the video and read the post here where I explore the 8 heart-qualities that are in bold in the graphic below.

Kindly note that playing your role, self-awareness, awareness of others are covered elsewhere in the Heart-Leadership book.

Empathetic listening

Understanding the feelings of a fellow human being and engaging in feeling talk is a great gift we give others as well as ourselves. Sharing feelings is heart language. It’s very different to usual conversation which is about opinions and facts or what people perceive as facts that are actually opinions!


A wise mentor of mine once told me that giving a gift was not as important as the words on the card. I have never forgotten this.


Heart-Leaders are admired for the questions they ask, more than the answers they give to other people’s questions.


I have come to recognise that wonderful words of inspiration and ideas that take your breath away often follow moments of silence. I once waited 11 minutes after posing a question to a group. The most inexperienced person in the room was the first to speak and her words changed us all forever.

Epiphany/defining moments

There’s nothing quite like it is there when the penny drops for someone? Witnessing other people’s ah ha moments always gives me joy.

Significance of shared-view in the seven areas of significance

When there is a shared-view of these seven in any team, desired results happen.

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 (progress),
7. how you will behave along the way (culture and values).

The magnificent seven are explored in detail in ‘The Appreciative Leader’ handbook which you can download via the PDF here.

Being in the room

Legendary United Kingdom based professional speaker and author Nigel Risner says “when you’re in the room, be in the room”.

It is easy to get distracted particularly online. We are doing each other disservice though when we are not giving our undivided attention.
I was reminded of this once many years a go when a colleague whose opinion I still seek out and highly regard, suggested to me after coming to hear me speak that I gave a great presentation yet let people down because I wasn’t really in the room before hand. Ouch. I have been in the room every time since!


I am fortunate that I was born curious. I’m curious first about people. Everyone we meet is a one-of-a-kind human being. What’s special about this one-of-a-kind in front of me? is the silent question I am always asking.

I’m curious process. How does this work? How could it work better for people?

I’m curious about unchanging principles and how I can apply them and help others to apply them in our own best way.


I invested a year (2015) in studying ‘essentialism' and it central idea of “less but better”. Living this concept has been transformational for me and those I have supported as they adopt it.


The ability to hold opposing views in our minds at once was regarded by the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald as a sign of first rate intelligence.

I believe in social democracy for example and lean to the left. Therefore I need to understand the right and other forms of democracy and how different views are opposed to mine in order to sustain an openness. I do not believe is right or wrong or any particular way being better than another. What I’m searching for is a shared-view and how to collaborate with other people who may have fundamentally different beliefs to mine.

Best version of you inspiring the best version of me

My friend and colleague Matt Church says “Leadership is about making sure the best version of you speaks to the best version of us.”

This is at the core of heart-leadership, seeking the best version in people. process and progress.

People first, environment second, profit last

The biggest losers in life I have observed are those who put profit before people and the planet.

There is nothing wrong or evil about making money. Profit, I believe, is a result of being good at business. It can never be a reason for being in business. And it can never be made at the expense of people or our planet.


I love this wonderful line from the founder of Wired Magazine Kevin Kelly “Optimize your generosity. No one on their deathbed has ever regretted giving too much away.”

I have found that the more I give without attachment to getting back the more I get back.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

PS I host Sparkenation Conversations online on the first Wednesday and the third Tuesday and third Wednesday of every month. Learn more.