Sunday 31 March 2013

How could you adapt old ideas in new ways?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Lots of people went to Church last Friday and will today.

And lots of children (indeed adults like me!) will enjoy Easter Eggs today.

Neither of these traditions are original ideas.  My understanding is that Easter, in the various ways we celebrate it, was originally derived from Eostre or Ostara, a pre-Christian Germanic/Anglo-Saxon goddess. Some scholars have described her as the goddess of dawn and rebirth.  Early Christians simply adapted the idea.  And chocolate makers and retailers have done likewise.

How could you adapt old ideas in new ways?

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ may be the big 4 of social media.  They were not the first.  They have simply adapted someone else’s idea.

How could you adapt old ideas in new ways?

There is no copyright on ideas.  It is right to acknowledge your source/s.

There are many ways to view a diamond.  How could you take a diamond (idea) and show a different facet of it?  (This is an idea I first learned from Matt Church).  

How could you adapt old ideas in new ways?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"The magic of discovery lies not in new landscapes but in having new eyes."
Marcel Proust

Thursday 28 March 2013

The days of trying to manage people are over


There are many articles here to help you leap into the new world of leadership and management.

And there is a simple framework available to profoundly unleash employee talent which is a key outcome of the new world of leadership and management. Details here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Be tender with people and tough on problems

I meet many bosses who treat people and problems in the same way and often confuse problems with people or personalities with problems.

Stop if this is you. It's making your people's productivity even worse.

Instead isolate the problem or challenge and make sure in doing so and discussing it no one can take it personal.

Have conversations with people about what they have agreed they are accountable for. When things don't go according to plan ask questions such as what happened? and what do you need to do to get back on track? Such questions encourage people to isolate their own problems as well as come up with their own solutions. 

Rule of thumb as a modis operandi: be tender with people yet tough on problems.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Is free costing you dearly?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

I am in the process of cleaning up the files on my old computer before transferring to my new one.  I am staggered at the junk I have collected!  Why did I download all this stuff in the first place? Partly it is because as a society we are fixated on free.

I have also been reflecting on the stuff I have made available for free and asking would other people on reflection be saying that my stuff is junk?

The internet and social media are great tools, that's all.  We need to be discerning about what we take notice of and what we put out there otherwise we clutter our lives and become unproductive.

There is nothing of value in being contributors (putting in or taking out) to a massive cyberspace junk yard.

Is free costing you dearly?

I for one am going to be more discerning in the future about what I put into and what I take out of cyberspace.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 22 March 2013


YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO BE TOO CYNICAL TO IMAGINE ... is a guest post by my friend and colleague Colin Pearce on the farce that is Australian politics and the soap opera of same in the past few days.

Here's Colin

Let's say you were the engineers behind a political party and let's say you had lost the trust of 70+% of the voters.

Let's say it was the last sitting day before the autumn break of 6 weeks, leaving only 4 months to the promised election day after resumption.

Let's say one of your good old boys was either set to retire, or was likely to lose his seat at the next election anyway.

And let's say one of the previous leaders was getting more popular again but looked a tad disloyal.

How hard would it be for you to organise at last minute,

a 'spill' for the leadership,
to get the good old boy to call for it, and volunteer to be back-benched
to get the apparently disloyal former leader to not nominate and come out looking true blue,
and to organise no volunteers or nominations at the spill meeting
and emerge beaming, smug and say you are united, behind your leader and that loyalty, honour and good faith are your watchwords after all?
Just wondering ...

Shakespeare's sad Prince of Morocco when beholding the portrait of death in what he hoped would be Portia's casket, said:

'All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told
Many a man his life has sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.'

I would love to be right and equally I'd love to be wrong.

Above is typical of Colin's wonderful wit and wisdom. Get more from Colin here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Hint.  Do the opposite of what most politicians do!

Tuesday 19 March 2013

The biggest problem we all need to solve

Albert Einstein made the following observation:
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”

In a great book ‘The Philosopher and The Wolf’ Mark Rowlands says:
“Humans are the animals that believe the stories they tell about themselves.”

What stories are you telling yourself about yourself?
And are they moving you forward or holding you back?

Everywhere you look there are warnings about the problems that our thinking, and particularly our attachment to our thoughts, can cause us.

Here are some of my favourites:

“The only thing that keeps us down and keeps us stuck is our thoughts”
John Kehoe

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Steve Jobs

“To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.”
Susan Sontag

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.”
Henry Ford

“Every faction conditions its members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it's not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can't be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can't be controlled. And it means that no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.”
Veronica Roth

“You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. ”
Marianne Williamson

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.”
Byron Katie

"Begin challenging your own assumptions.  Your assumptions are your windows on the world.  Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in."
Alan Alda

"Thinking is what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."
William James

Here’s the thing.  If you are achieving what you want in your life and work my educated guess is that your intentions, feelings, and thoughts are in alignment and your behaviour matches.

Of course if you are not achieving what you really want in your life, either your thinking is stopping you and/or your intentions and feelings are out of alignment with your thinking and therefore your actions are betraying you.

Wherever the status quo no longer serves you, it’s time to change what’s normal.  Changing your thinking is a great place to start.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

To solve all your problems in your life and work, to overcome your challenges, first change or modify how you think about them and then make sure your intentions and emotions are in alignment, then take action in sync with your intentions, feelings, and thinking.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.”
Lao Tzu

Monday 18 March 2013

WANTED. Leaders with heart

I am looking for leaders who want to value their employees more, help their employees lead more fulfilling lives, love their employees like family.


In my work with leaders in 40 countries since 1991 the above three are the standout pathways to unleashing the unique talents/gifts that are lying dormant in most people.

The results of this unleashing

Higher levels of productivity and engagement from employees, higher sales, lower costs and lower employee turnover, and more time for you to pursue what really matters to you.

People are referred to as assets, resources, and even capital. We are none of these things. We are flesh and blood beings with needs, wants, fears, and aspirations.

When we are respected and treated as the one-of-a-kind that each of us is, we respond with remarkable performance.

By guaranteeing your employees feel valued, fulfilled, and loved, in the process you will overcome 6 challenges

1. Are the majority of your employees bringing their best to their work on a consistent basis?

2. Do most of your people excel at having conversations about performance when there is difficulty, conflict or disagreement?

3. Are most of your employees wise investors in time?

4. Do all of your employees know their unique gifts/talents and are they enhancing them in their work?

5. Is your performance management system leading to definitive and easily measurable performance improvement?

6. Do the majority of your employees know your strategy for growth and particularly do they own their unique piece of your execution map?

If you answered no to parts or all of the above then Enhancing Their Gifts System (ETGS) is for you.

3 ways I can help you to unleash your employees

1) The heart-stirring, mind-shifting, game-changing one day Enhancing Their Gifts program

In this highly interactive and practical program (only available to 40 organisations a year) I teach you and up to 5 of your people my Enhancing Their Gifts System™ - the simple framework that profoundly unleashes employee talent.

The most important thing about this day is not my teaching, rather what you hear yourself say to yourself and then what you do that changes what’s normal.

This day ends with you having a 63 day licence to implement and embed ETGS with a pilot group and therefore prove for yourself the value of the system meaning you can make an informed decision about purchasing a full licence for you organisation. Your 63 day licence includes support from an accredited mentor.  
Find out more here.

2) Presentation packages that help you to overcome the challenges that keep you awake at night.
Find out more here.

3) No BS mentoring. You just might be staggered how far this can take you.
Find out more here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Time to be brave

This Sundays sparkenation.

"It's possible that your next frontier isn't to get more efficient, it's to get more brave."
Seth Godin

In what areas of your life do you need to be braver?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Monday 11 March 2013

ROI - beginning and middle long before an end

Return on investment (ROI) is being is discussed in the executive suites of organisations more than ever before.  And a number of CEO’s of major companies have received their marching orders recently because ROI failed to meet expectations of the board and shareholders.

ROI, as in return on investment. is an outcome, an end.

Focusing on outcomes such as profit and return to shareholders is short term thinking mostly and usually leads to less than possible results.

A few years ago I was privileged to hear Kevin Roberts, the world-wide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, and one of my heroes in terms of a real leader, speak about ROI.  Kevin spoke about return on involvement!

How involved are your employees in where you’re going?
What kind of investment are you making in your employees?

To get a return you must first make an investment.  And investing your time, energy, and money in your employees is the greatest investment you need to make.

Many years ago I emceed a function where the famous baker Tom O’Toole was the speaker.  During the Q & A Tom was asked “What if I make all this investment in my people and they leave?”  Tom replied: "What if you don’t and they stay!”

Inspiration and influence really matter because they lead to involvement.

I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that one-of-a-kind each of us is) to everything they do.  Such inspiration influences people.

Warning: Leadership usually fails without management which I define as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Leadership is about inspiration and influence.  Management is about systems and processes.  Both are an essential investment you must make.

Long before the end, there is a beginning and a middle.

I hear politicians and business leaders talk all the time about the end results as though they matter above all else.  They don’t.  What really matters is the journey we take together that leads to win/win/win/win/win i.e. a win for individuals, families, communities as much as organisations and countries.

If you want to achieve possibility in your life and work focus on the journey and involving all your stakeholders, particularly your employees.  Return on investment will take care of itself assuming your diligence, care, financial wisdom and ability and willingness to be aiming for long term sustainability rather than quick fixes to satisfy the few people who are, rightly, at the end of the food chain.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Please consider an investment in my Enhancing Their Gifts System.  For as little as $1320 you can inspire, influence and involve your employees to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.  Imagine the difference.  Details here.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Are you doing what you were born to do?

This Sunday's sparkenation: Are you doing what you were born to do?

“Whoever is born with a talent, or to a talent, must surely find in that the most pleasing of occupations”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Are you doing what you were born to do?

“If a man is called to be a street sweepr, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Are you doing what you were born to do?

More sparkenations here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Some personal reflections on unleashing employee talent - my short interview with Paul Lange

I was honoured recently to be interviewed by Blue Ocean Strategist Paul Lange about changing what’s normal and the Enhancing Their Gifts System of which Paul is an accredited mentor.

Please grab your favourite beverage before watching the 20 minute video here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 4 March 2013

The real currency of the connection economy

Seth Godin and many others are talking a lot today about the connection economy.

Here is an excellent short video from Graeme Codrington about this.

There is also a great article from Graeme’s colleague Keith Coats here.

In this post I explore what I think is the most valuable currency of connection for individuals, relationships, at work, at home, in our tribes, and in our communities from my perspective.

All change is personal first

We have a hunger for human connection from the moment we are born.  For several years most of us do what we think other people want us to.  We behave to please.  The key to being valued by people who really matter in our lives is to be ourselves, that one-of-a-kind each of us is.

Andy Warhol said: "They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them for yourself"

My pathway for personal change is compete with yourself.

Want to change or modify something in your personal life? Change or modify intention first, feelings second, thinking third, and then align behaviour and the outcome you want will take care of itself.

Relationship change follows personal change

There are two keys to relationships of high value and mutual reward; serving and shared-view or common-ground.

Who are you serving?  What value are you delivering?

In a organisational sense your customer is whoever gets your work next.  Are they receiving the value from you that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve?

In a personal sense we serve others in all kinds of ways.  A key question to ask: Is what you are giving to others exactly what they want?

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.

In all our relationships we need a shared-view about where we’re going, why we’re going there, how we will get there, and who will do what and when.

My pathway for relationship change is collaboration.

Want to change or modify a relationship in your life?
Change or modify how you make contact with the other person first, how you connect second, how you discover common-ground (shared-view) third.  Then align how you demonstrate commitment to one another.  The relationship modifcation or change you want and the continuity of the relationship will take care of themselves.

You can download a complimentary copy of my Changing What’s Normal book with my compliments by enrolling in the Enhancing Their Gifts System short 3 lesson trial here, or by completing the Doing Your Life’s Work Pulse Check here.

Organisational change follows relationship change

Connection is all about who we are. It's about our true selves meeting other people's true selves.

There is nothing more important than who we all are when it comes to boosting employee performance.

Below are 9 ways to really connect with your employees and as a consequence boost performance

Employee engagement is an outcome of human connection.  We must be engaging before engagement is even remotely possible. 

#1. Only recruit people who live your values or whose personal values are aligned with yours.

#2. Professionally induct people into your culture, the way you do things.  Sometimes called onboarding you are looking to be so engaging with people that they quickly become on board.

#3. Celebrate what's working as well as what's not.  Authenticity, candor, honesty, and openness are the currency of the connection economy.  They lead to trust which is the bedrock of true collaboration.

#4. Help people identify and cultivate their unique gifts/talents. This is your number one role as a leader.  When people are bringing who they truly are to their work on a consistent basis high performance is a natural consequence.

#5. Co-create with people their unique piece of your strategy execution map.  Most strategies fail to get executed because employees, the chief executors of strategy, haven’t yet bought into the strategy or as is more often the case, they don’t yet understand or own their unique piece of the execution map.

#6. Fulfill the promises you made to employees when you employed them and make it simple for your employees to fulfill the promises they have made to you and that are articulated in their unique piece of your strategy execution map.

#7. Co-create a culture with your employees where appreciation and accountability conversations are integral to daily work.

#8. Agree with your employees on what continuous improvement means in the reality of everyday work and never deviate without a shared-view about possible change/s.

#9. Ensure that everything you do and how you do it means your employees have continuous opportunity to enhance their gifts and live happier lives.

I have made it simple for you to enact these 9 in my Enhancing Their Gifts System - the simple framework that profoundly unleashes employee talent.  You can experience the system first hand through a complimentary 3 lesson trial.  Straight away you get to download my Changing What's Normal book. Simply put your details in the boxes here to get started on the trial.

Be a hero in your own home first

There is a lot of talk about life-work balance.  I think most of it is nonsense.  Balance for me suggests equality.  There is nothing equal about personal life and work.  The facts are we spend about a third of our lives at work.  Life-work harmony is possible.  I write about this in sparkenation 26 of my Changing What’s Normal book.  The key is this:  Do the people living with you truly value you and you them?  If your answer is no, fix this first.  An unhappy home life spills over into your working life and vice-versa.

The currency of connection in our tribes and communities

All the talk today is about online and social-media.  Are you being fooled by it?

There is value in online. You’re reading this post!

Who Google says we are is true, yet only to a point.  I see value in online because it can enhance our credibility, visibility and searchability.  Sharing online is a great way to give value in advance of a relationship.  Online significantly enhances our ability to share, stay in touch and connect. 

The truth though is that nothing can replace real human connection.  There is nothing quite like the touch of another human, a look in the eye, in-person conversation, and everything else that we really value about being alive and sharing our lives with others.

Have you spoken to your neighbour lately?  Did you stop and chat with your friend you haven’t seen much recently who you bumped into into in the supermarket, or were you too busy, or on your phone perhaps?

We can tap into anything, anywhere, 24/7.  There are many great advantages to being able to do this.  Is it really what we actually want though?  I don’t think so. 

We all want to be loved, valued, and fulfilled.  Authentic, in person human connection leads to these things more than anything else.

For great insights into real connection please watch this video by Amanda Palmer.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

One team Enhancing Their Gifts System licence available for just $1320.  Find out more here.

Sunday 3 March 2013

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

This Sunday's sparkenation - “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.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.