Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal.
Convention is simply the agreed ways we make things happen and get things done.
My convention for you to adapt to best suit yourself is
Enlightened Language elevates conversations,
Conversations enrich relationships,
Relationships enable business.
Language is the fertile ground (starting place) for achieving your personal and business purpose and any outcome you desire. When language elevates conversations and conversations enrich relationships the work (transactions and interactions) is enhanced and results take care of themselves.
My objective is to make my language enlightened. I use the word enlightened as a reference to enlightened self-interest the philosophy in ethics that’s about ‘doing well by doing good’, or as Zig Ziglar so wonderfully put it “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Your language (intention, words, tone, timing, body language) must be exactly right for the right person/people at the right time for them. Your language package must be such that people are not left in any doubt that you are here for them.
Conversations are elevated when we use such language.
Language too is about eliminating words that do not serve other people.
In other parts of the Remarkable Workplaces book I explore conversations, presentations and communication, relationships and purpose in depth.
For now your work is to get your language enlightened.
3 recommended actions
1) Take a very careful note of language being used in your workplace (any place for that matter) that causes people to roll their eyes or visibly withdraw. Examples I’ve seen are bandwidth, engagement, empowerment, disruption, scale, pivot, leverage, synergy.
2) Eliminate slogans and sound bites from your business. We get annoyed when the media and politicians use them so why on earth would we make our people suffer?
3) Invest time and energy in bettering how you speak, your messaging, making eye contact, using tone variations and pausing.
Recommended deep work
Invest time in other cultures where different languages to your native tongue are used. Note observations about how the best communicators and conversationalists operate.
France, Germany and Italy and many parts of Asia have been favourites for me as an English speaking person.
Commit to reading more or listening or watching if reading is not your preference.
I was interested to note recently that more than a third of Seth Godin’s sales in his latest best seller ‘This Is Marketing’ have been audio books.
You have no excuse for not tapping into other people’s experience and wisdom through reading, listening or watching at least once a week.
Learn new words regularly and test and evaluate their value in your overall communication, conversations and presentations.
I've pre-ordered this book and very much looking forward to reading it when it arrives later this month.
Below is an extract:
“Which brings us to one of the most important things leaders and teams need to internalize: our way of working is completely made up. This isn’t the way it has to be, or even the way it always was. Our way of working was created, brick by brick, by gurus, industrialists, robber barons, unions, and universities — generations of managers and workers who came before us. We can thank them for what is still serving us, and we can change the rest.”
There's great power in being able to make things up. What's your next invention?
"People We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment. Planet We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations. Prosperity We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature. Peace We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development. Partnership We are determined to mobilize the means required to implement this Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focussed in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people. The interlinkages and integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals are of crucial importance in ensuring that the purpose of the new Agenda is realised. If we realize our ambitions across the full extent of the Agenda, the lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better."
"6. The power of trust The last few years have seen Royal Commissions and other inquiries refocus and recalibrate Australians’ trust. Few sectors have been immune, from religious and political entities to corporations in the financial sector, to aged care providers to social media and tech companies, trust has been eroded. The year ahead will see consumers value trust, whether it be in a brand, person or entity above price, promise or experience. Those who can gain and keep trust, through transparency, and values-based offerings will thrive in the trust-as-premium environment.”
A consequence of client work and conversations with clients was the realisation that people need to feel genuinely valued before they will consistently live values and deliver remarkable value. Of course trusting people and being trustworthy are integral to this.
Forthwith I began to use the following words to describe the common-cause of remarkable workplaces: people feeling valued, living values and delivering value.
Imagine a 3 legged stool or as I picture them as a triangle.
It had become obvious to me that having the common-cause to increase the number of people feeling valued, living values and delivering value was the simplest yet most profound process to achieve what everyone deep down really wants - better business results at less human and business cost.
By 2014 my feelings and thoughts evolved to a working model.
By the time the second book in my remarkability trilogy ‘The Appreciative Leader’ was published in 2016 the model had grown further and had been through tried, tested and proven.
Through further work with clients it became obvious to me that leadership needs allies to thrive. In part this is because leadership has been degenerated by political, religious and business people over generations. Real leadership is important yet more is needed.
I’ve thought long and hard about this and took a detailed look back at the wonderful people I have been privileged to work with searching for commonalities. I concluded that the most inspiring and influential people making the greatest positive difference were all in their own best way living seven relationship roles remarkably.
As a collective I named this being a Sparkenator from the verb I created in Changing What’s Normal, the first book in the remarkability trilogy. Sparkenation (a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal).
Sparkenator - person committed to the life-long process of mastering the 7 relationship enhancement roles (wise, witty and warm communicator, candid and convivial conversationalist, engaging and inspiring speaker, maestro mentor, compassionate coach, change champion and appreciative and value driven leader, and trusted adviser)
I also upgraded the other roles in the model: 21st century managers (people ensuring policies, procedures, practices, processes and systems are simple, real world and focused on value delivery), and culture champions (people who role model agreed behaviours and the who before do concept as well as what it means to be a human being fully alive.
Hence a further evolved model as pictured that I now use widely.
In the Remarkable workplaces book, the final in the remarkability trilogy, I recommend 3 actions and also some deep work. 3 recommended actions
1) Decide once and for all that no matter what, people and the planet are always before profit in your workplace.
2) Discuss with your team how well you’re going in ensuring people feel valued.
Below is a short list of actions you must be doing. What would you add to the list?
Catching people doing things right and doing the right thing.
Giving people genuine compliments.
Informally and formally celebrating with people what is going well for them.
Always saying please and thank you and meaning it.
Being courteous and kind.
Sharing stories about the successes of your people.
3) Systematically begin to review all your processes (includes policies, procedures, practices, and systems) and upgrade wherever appropriate to ensure that they mean it’s simple for people to be the best version of themselves and deliver value.
Recommended deep work
In most workplaces values are words. In remarkable workplaces values are behaviors.
Most organisations have stated values. Very few are lived. Rarely is there a shared- view around the behaviours that demonstrate values. Of course if you are the exception rather than the rule you have competitive advantage.
Should you not yet have agreed behaviours in place for each of your values begin to do this work.
There must be alignment between personal and organisational values. Any disconnect means trouble. So begin here. Often conversations around behaviours that are acceptable in families is a good starting place.
I suggest 3 to 5 behaviours that cover key aspects of human relationships as plenty.
Below are examples of behaviours from one workplace:
You need a common-cause for your workplace, a purpose beyond profit.
Profit is a result of being good at business, never a reason for being in business.
Make sure your cause embraces people feeling valued, living values and delivering value and you will not only achieve better business results at less human and business cost, you will also be future-proofing your workplace.
The real source of the rise of repressive authoritarianism, nativism, and xenophobia in the United States as well as Italy, Spain, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Bulgaria, Greece, France, and Britain is a pervasive sense that elites are rigging the world economy for themselves. And, guess what? They are.
A big, looming question right now—as a new year gets going, as the US and the UK struggle to get going, as markets and climate fluctuate—is: are we on a path to renewal or collapse?
Chris goes on to provide some very interesting insights using the term currencies:
By “currencies” we mean not just monetary currencies, like dollars and euros, but all the things that parties to a bargain widely decide have value. Such things are more commonly called “virtues” or “norms”, but it can be helpful to think of these things as currencies instead, because—like money currencies—they only have value when we buy into them.
What have we bought into?
I am deeply mystified at how people like Donald Trump can be President of anything let alone the United States of America. My friend and colleague Colin James suggests Trump is the poster child for solipsism (the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist; the quality of being self-centred or selfish).
Colin is onto something I reckon.
1) We have bought into self-interest
There's displays of self-interest everywhere: selfies, likes, consumerism just to name three obvious examples.
We have made the choice to allow self-interest to rule.
2) We have bought into political systems
The Electoral College in America Unlike in other U.S. elections, the president and vice president are not elected directly by the people. Instead, they’re chosen by “electors” through a process called the Electoral College. The idea of using electors comes from the Constitution. The nation’s founders saw it as a compromise between electing the president by a popular vote among citizens and electing the president in Congress. https://www.usa.gov/election#item-36072
I personally fail to see how the above is good democracy.
The Westminster Political System e.g. Australia, United Kingdom
We don't get to elect our Prime Minister either. That privilege is left for party members, which here in Australia means Labor or Liberal. The winner of elections here never get a majority vote on their own, rather they rely on preferences where there are all sorts of dodgy deals deal done.
I personally fail to see how the above is good democracy either.
Other political systems
I tried researching how the Chinese people elect their politicians and admit absolute confusion. I couldn't find any evidence that the people have any say in who is their President. The only thing I got clear about is that bribery and corruption are rife.
Conclusion I'm not aware of any political system where the people have a direct say in who will lead their country. Leads me to ask Why are politicians our leaders? Something is wrong worldwide with politics and politicians. Reflecting on Robert Reich's comments above could it be that the elites are rigging everything for their own gain?
3) We have bought into the economy being the be all and end all
In my life time (65 years) we have stopped being a society and instead have become an economy where the people who create the various formulas don't know what they're creating will lead to.
And we still use GDP, the total of what we spend as a measure of well-being. Laughable.
Summary and possible solutions
Self-interest, our political systems, and modern economics are all pathways that are leading to the destruction of our planet (our home). And unless we do something very soon they will bring about our own demise.
1) Refuse to buy-into self-interest rather live a life of enlightened self-interest.
2) Peacefully push for third alternatives in politics e.g. elect Independents for local governments and eventually eliminate party politics.
3) Move to the people not parties or electoral colleges electing Presidents or Prime Ministers and asking them to govern with fellow Independents.
4) Be part of a movement that reinstates peaceful and productive society as our purpose and redesign economics to support this purpose.
5) Put a panel of judges* in charge of national and international decisions to do with climate change, health care, privacy, education and military matters, and whatever else we the people deem as our priorities.
6) Ensure 50% of these judges are women.
7) Make it illegal for any decisions made by the above to be discriminatory in any way.
*an alternative to a panel of judges could be a council of elders with no political or ideological attachment. Age of the council members would be irrelevant. The main criteria for election would be track record in doing the right thing by people and planet.
Who will you become? What will you do next? What are your solutions?