Tuesday 30 April 2013

Are your people practices 21st century or do they belong to another era?

Two statements jumped out at me in the Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study that involved 32000 people from 29 countries:

“Companies are running 21st century businesses with 20th century workplace practices and programs.”

“It’s essential for organizations and their leaders to have a clear understanding of what matters to employees, and why and how that affects their productivity and behavior on the job.”

I wrote my paper “The most significant shift you can make in your business is the one from performance management to performance leadership", to inspire you to ensure your people practices are 21st century and to fully unleash the talent gathering in your workplace.  

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 28 April 2013

Why You Should Write Daily

This Sunday's sparkenation.

In January 2007 a colleague suggested I start blogging.  I wasn’t so sure.  I began writing 500 words every day, a habit I have stayed with ever since.  I started publishing some of my thoughts via this blog in May 2007.  My Changing What’s Normal book was an outcome 4 years later.  

The biggest outcome of writing daily however has been the clarity it leads to.  I have learned that being clear is a key to everything else in my life.

Write daily and you too will be clearer.  Being clear will lead you to where you’ve never been and to where you truly belong.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

How well do you trust yourself?

The proverbial phrase “He who hesitates is lost” is often taken to mean that when we know what we need to do to solve a problem, we should act immediately, or our window of opportunity is likely to pass. 

More than 50% of my work is helping people to do what you know you should.

Why do we hesitate to do what we know we should?

“To know and not to do is really not to know.”
attributed to Stephen R. Covey in some circles and simply as Zen wisdom in other places.

I believe the key reason we fail to do what we know we should do is because we don’t really trust ourselves.

Most of my 1:1 mentoring work is about helping people to be more self-aware because the greater our self-awarness the greater our understanding of who we really are and what is special (unique) about us. The more acutely aware we are of the one-of-a-kind that each of us is, the more we can trust ourselves in any given situation.  Equally the more we become trustworthy and the more trustworthy we are, the greater our influence and the greater our success.

Once knowledge was power reserved for the elite who had access to information.  This is no longer the case.  We can Google pretty much everything.  

Today trust is power.  And a lack of trust in ourselves leads to less trust by other people in us which renders us less powerful than we need to be to stand out in the modern world.

Trusting ourselves and acting on such trust means we have the personal power to influence.  Personal power is always more influential than position power.

3 ways to trust yourself more

1) Spend at least 1 hour per day working on yourself.  

All change is personal first.  We cannot change other people.  We can change ourselves.

“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job” 
Jim Rohn

In my Changing What’s Normal book I provide 23 sparkenations (sparks that ignite passion that lead to action that changes what’s normal) about personal change.  If you don’t yet have my book there are 3 ways you can download it with my compliments.  Check out the 3 ways.

One way to work on yourself everyday is to read and integrate.  I have been in the habit of reading a book a week for 40 years.  I read everyday. I recommend it.  Read and integrate what you learn about yourself into your life and work.  Real leaders are readers.  Keep a journal. You might like to start with my recommended reading list.

I also recommend writing everyday even if you never publish what you write.

2) Do what you fear the most

We are remarkable beings capable of amazing feats. Have a go.  Do what you fear.  Afraid to speak out?  Speak out in situations you haven’t in the past.

There are many great insights in Daniel Pink's book Drive – the surprising truth about what motivate us. One is “there is a mismatch between what science knows and business does.”

There is also a great mismatch for most of us between what science shows as that we are capable of and what we actually do.  Have a crack. You have got nothing to lose except not living the life you were born to live.  Google neuroscience, get a book on this subject.  You can rewire your brain.  Get going.

“You are ten times better than you think.”
Colin Pearce

3) Practice Feedforward

Feedforward is a tremendously powerful concept created by Marshall Goldsmith.
You can learn about feedforward in my Changing What’s Normal book - 3 ways you can get my book free, or go direct to the source.  I find feedforward many times more powerful than feedback, and, it is a great trust builder.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“If you don’t believe little things make a big difference then you have never been to bed with a mosquito!”
Anita Roddick, Founder, The Body Shop

Sunday 21 April 2013

The customer is whoever gets your work next

This Sunday's sparkenation.

The famous Japanese Industrialist Kaoru Ishikawa once remarked
"The customer is whoever gets your work next."

In moving house recently I have experienced some brilliant customer service and some very poor customer service.  The challenge in one instance has been when excellent and poor are from different organisations and one is relying on the other.  As a result of the poor I have not yet received what I need.  Of course the brilliant is now a distant memory.

Are there strong links in every aspect of your supplier-customer chain?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Gifts and high performance with Jim Cathcart - the recording

In case you weren't online this morning below is the recording of my changing what's normal candid conversation with Jim Cathcart on gifts and high performance.

Jim provides some truly great insights into as he says "nurturing our nature" including our velocity and our natural values.

My next candid conversation is on May 9th.  My very special guest will be David Penglase, author of Intentionomics.  Details here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
To purchase your copy of Jim's wonderful book The Acorn Principle that includes a chapter on our natural values please go here.

Monday 15 April 2013

Real charisma and high performance - a webinar with Jim Cathcart

I am thrilled that the next Changing What's Normal Candid Conversation is on tomorrow (16th April 7.30 am Australian Eastern Standard Time/2.30 pm Pacific Time USA 15th April/9.30 pm 15th April GMT).  My very special guest is Jim Cathcart.

I have been a big fan of Jim Cathcart since I began speaking professionally in 1991 when one of my early mentors suggested I check out his work.  I then had the privilege of interviewing Jim in New Orleans in 2004 and then heard him speak to a very special event for professional speakers held at the United Nations in New York in 2008.

You can imagine my delight then that Jim is my special guest on this webinar.

I will be exploring true charisma (gifts) and high performance with Jim.

"I believe that everyone has a gift, something to contribute.  In most cases there are multiple gifts within us" from The Acorn Principle by Jim Cathcart.

Jim Cathcart is a true legend in the speaking and sales industries

2013 Top 5 Sales & Marketing Speaker (4 years in a row!) 
2012 Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame
Professional Speakers Hall of Fame
The Cavett Award
Lifetime Achievement Award, National Speakers Association
The Golden Gavel Award, Toastmasters International 

Most of all Jim is a great and wise human being. I have no doubt that during this webinar you will gain unique insights into how to bring your best self to your life and work.

To watch this webinar simply go here at the appointed time.

Be the difference you want to see in the world

Sunday 14 April 2013

Knowing when to clear and when to be ambiguous is a hallmark of great leadership

This Sunday's sparkenation.

"The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say NO to almost everything."
Warren Buffett

Clarity is a characteristic of real leaders meaning they are really clear before saying yes or no.  Real leaders are also often ambiguous saying "I don't know, let's explore this or I'm not certain what do you think?  The end result maybe saying no more than yes.

I would say knowing when to be ambiguous and when to be clear is a hallmark of great leadership.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Thursday 11 April 2013

Leading for Good: the biggest ‘wave’ we've ever seen in business - guest post by Paul Dunn

This a guest post from my mentor and friend Paul Dunn, Chairman of Buy1Give1 an organisation that has revolutionised giving and who will soon pass 25 million giving transactions.

There’s a rapidly growing business movement the
like of which we've never seen before. 

Businesses getting 'on purpose'; 
businesses giving back; 
businesses making a real measureable difference;
businesses that are seriously ‘connected’ to their teams and to their customers. 

I like to call them businesses for good. 

And Leadership is at the heart of it all. 

As Paul Polman from Unilever puts it: “These days, CEOs don’t just get judged by how well their share prices are doing, but by what impact they are having on society.”

Again, Business for Good sums it up neatly for me. Some use more ‘scholarly’ names — Conscious Capitalism is one way of describing it. 

But for me, ‘Business for Good’ sums it up neatly.  

And it’s important we say right up front that this is NOT about the now relatively staid ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ — a term I’ve never embraced. 

As we’ll see, this is about something far, far deeper. So deep in fact that Sir Richard Branson (and what a great leader he is) puts it this way: “So I think that if every single business can find their niche in the world where they want to make a difference, then I think we can get on top off most of the problems of the world.

Fundamentally, it’s about connection.

Fundamentally, leadership (and doing business for good) is all about connection. For example, for the small to medium scale business owner, it’s about a connection first and foremost to who we are as human beings. It’s about recognising WHY we’re here and why we do what we do. It’s about realising that giving is in our DNA.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market gives us an awesome way of thinking about that. “My body cannot exist without red blood cells,” he says. “But the purpose of my life is not to produce red blood cells.

And then he draws this wonderful parallel with red blood cells and profit: “Similarly a business cannot exist unless it makes a profit. But profit is NOT the purpose. Its most important purpose is value creation for its inter-dependent stakeholders.

And that leads to the second element of connection — connection to team (just one group of the inter-dependent stakeholders — others are suppliers, the shareholders and the communities that the business ‘touches’).

Creating a higher sense of purpose is central to having a team of people who are fully engaged — yes, FULLY engaged. Meaning that there’s something other than just money going on. There’s a different (and more conscious) culture.

Just as one example, consider the coffee-shop that makes it possible for a child in Africa to have access to water every time they sell a coffee. No longer will people be concerned about how many coffees they sell, they’ll measure and be motivated by the number of children whose lives they’re saving.

Or perhaps the Accountant who, when she creates a new client, gives goats to families in Kenya so that they can create sustainable incomes. And of course, they measure and get excited about and talk about the number of goats — NOT the number of new clients.

And when you see that link, you instantly see the next connection — a much deeper connection between the business and the customer. And perhaps most interestingly of all, a customer group who themselves unleash their own giving almost by osmosis.

When there’s no connection, it doesn’t work

Contrast that scenario with the one we often see — the smiling broadly CEO of the publicly listed ‘corporate’ on a stage with a very large cheque made out to a charity. Nice, of course. But no connection. And no leverage to inspire customers (or what John Mackey would call ‘inter-dependent stakeholders’) to give.

Connection is central to it because we are all connected!

So often, what businesses do DISconnects rather than connects. The budget airline that charges you to fly business class (as indeed it should) but then charges you $4 for an extra cup of tea. The legal firm that charges you based upon the amount of six-minute units used rather the value they provided. The bank that forces you to go through hoops of totally unnecessary checks as to who you really are when all you wanted to do was complain about a ‘service’ they did not provide. The food court where the conditions are so bad that there’s no way the staff could smile at a customer. 

Often, we think it’s the team members who are doing this. But it’s not. It’s leadership that is allowing this to happen.

Author and blogger Seth Godin expresses the thought brilliantly:We don’t worship industrial the way we used to. We seek out human originality and caring instead. When price and availability are no longer sufficient advantages (because everything is available and the price is no longer news), then what we are drawn to is the vulnerability and transparency that bring us together, that turn the “other” into one of us.

That turn the ‘other’ into us. What a wonderful way of expressing it. 

It’s what businesses for good effectively stand for. As we put it at B1G1, making a difference every second, every day and in every way. And that, importantly, is a brilliant description of leadership in this age.

Find out more about Paul here.

B1G1 is a proud owner of an Enhancing Their Gifts System licence.

Please consider joining B1G1 yourself or give along with my mates and myself at the Changing What's Normal Torchbearer Tribe

Be the difference you want to see in the world

Tuesday 9 April 2013

7.17 pm is a good time to watch the daily news

I have taken to watching the nightly news on TV,  if at all,  at around 7.17 pm.  That's when the sports results are on!  The previous 17 minutes seem to be dominated by politics, crime, and other nasties.  Every night death, destruction, and delusion rule. It seems the old media adage "if it bleeds it leads" still applies, sadly.

We live in a world where we have more choices than ever before.  A key to changing what's normal is letting go the status quo when same no longer serves humanity.  I have made that decision about news broadcasts.  I long ago made the same decision about newspapers and magazines.

Are you letting go the status quo or putting up with it?  

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Build more of a home wherever you belong

This Sunday's sparkenation.

My wife and I are in the process of moving into a new home.  We dreamed of a cottage in a wood and have achieved our dream, albeit that it is somewhat different to what we envisioned.  In time we will make it exactly how we want it to be.

We all have homes where we live, work, and play, places where we belong.
Together we are making them exactly as we want them to be.  
Or are we?

This week build more of a home wherever you belong.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
they have to take you in."
Robert Frost

More sparkenations here.

Friday 5 April 2013

Market Place 3.0 rewriting the rules of borderless business - a book well worth your time and energy

Market Place 3.0 rewriting the rules of borderless business, by Mikitani Hiroshi, CEO of Ratuken, is a book well worth your time and energy.  

I have added it to my recommended reading list which you can download here.

I loved the book because it contains great insights and very doable tips about real empowerment, company culture, social-media, ecommerce and how fun can be profitable.

I particularly enjoyed Mikitani's reflections on "service-mind", how the internet is much more than a modern vending machine, and why and how the human face must be present in all the online aspects of our organisations.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 4 April 2013

Look After Our People, And They Will Look After Our Organisation - guest post by Maree Harris

This is a guest post by Maree Harris, accredited mentor of the Enhancing Their Gifts System and author of Soft Skills - The Hard Stuff of Success.

You may know the story of some bushwalkers who came across a man sawing down a tree with a hand saw. 

They asked him what he was doing.

Frustrated at such a stupid question, he replied that he was cutting down a tree.

Seeing that he hadn’t got very far, but looked exhausted, they asked him how long he had been sawing.

Mellowing at their concern for him, he looked at them and said: “I am exhausted. I’ve been at it four hours and as you can see it will be at least another four hours before I’ve finished.

“Why don’t you stop, have a break and sharpen your saw?” they said. “ You will get it done faster if you do.”

Angrily he replied: “I haven’t time to stop and sharpen my saw. I’m too busy sawing this tree down.”

By not taking care of what does the work for him – his saw – he becomes exhausted and has to work much harder and much longer than he needs to.

So many managers in organisations are just like this man. They are so busy making sure the work gets done, that they don’t stop to look after those responsible for doing it – their people. If they did they wouldn’t find it so heavy going getting their people to do what needs to be done. 

It is common to hear frustrated, tired and jaded managers saying: “I don’t have time for this people stuff”,  while at the same time complaining that their people weren’t measuring up. Recall the old adage that rolls off our tongues so easily: “Our people are our greatest assets”; yet we treat them as a cost and an expense, rather than an investment .  Many organisations still spend much more energy and time squeezing every drop of blood out of their people, than they do investing in them. We are, however, seeing some change as more and more organisations are now not merely talking about investing in their people, but actually doing it in a range of ways. The Enhancing Their Gifts program has a real contribution to make here.

Almost ¾ of Australian employees are NOT FULLY ENGAGED in their work, according to the 2012 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study. 

21% feel UNSUPPORTED at work. While they are willing to expend more effort on their jobs, they feel they lack the tools, resources and support to do their jobs effectively.

Another 20% are DETACHED workers who, although they are supported at work, lack the willingness to go the extra mile.

A sizeable number – 29% - are COMPLETELY DISENGAGED.

Only 28% are HIGHLY ENGAGED at work.

We want our people to be engaged. We want them to bring more than their bodies to work. We want them to bring their hearts and minds, not leave them in the car park. What we really want to happen is that our people will work WITH us, not just FOR us. There is a difference. 

Working WITH us is about co-operation and collaboration. There is that engagement we talked about before, a feeling they have an investment in the success of the business, their individual career goals aligned with those of the organisation so there’s a sense that they are in partnership with us. They go the extra mile. Our success is their success.  

Working FOR us is about doing what we are told whether we like it or not. If we don’t like it then we’ll use any opportunity to slacken off or work to rule. We only do what we have to do. We have no investment in the organisation’s success. This is just a job from which we draw an income to live. If we can find a better one we will leave. There is a “them” and “us” mindset, management and employees are in opposition to one another. 

So How Do We Get Our People To Work WITH Us, Not Just FOR Us.

There are five keys I believe can make it happen. 

1. Developing a psychological contract with our people.
2. Being visible to our teams.
3. Setting clear goals, expectations and priorities.
4. Coaching our team to engagement, rather than being the critic.
5. Providing regular and consistent feedback.

I want to focus on the first key because that is foundational – developing a psychological contract with our people. It is also the inherent philosophy that beds down the Enhancing Their Gifts program. 

Developing a Psychological Contract with Our People.

This is the emotional contract we develop with our people, what motivates and inspires them to give discretionary effort to achieving the organisation’s goals. It engenders an emotional connection between the organisation and the employee – that results in pride, loyalty and commitment. The employee’s success is the organisation’s success and vice versa. 

It’s the commitment the organisation makes to its people.
“We will look after you if you will look after our organisation.”
“We will take your concerns seriously. We will listen to you.”
“We will do what we can to make sure you have what you need to do your job successfully.”
“When the going gets tough we will work with you to get the best outcomes together.”
Unless we can establish a psychological contract – create this emotional connection -  between our people and our organisation there will not be engagement. 

This is about making an emotional investment in our people.  We promise to make their work meaningful and purposeful if they will give us their hearts and minds, their loyalty and commitment. Psychological contracts are about getting win/win outcomes. 

It’s about creating emotional bank accounts for our people. We make deposits into these emotional bank accounts and build it up for the rainy day. When we need to withdraw, as many organisations have had to do during the GFC, it can be done without bankrupting the relationship. Because we have made the deposits, we can make the big withdrawals. Those organisations that did that were able to call on their people to make a super effort during this difficult time and they came through. Others who had built up no emotional credit have struggled to get through and as soon as the situation gets better in their industry their people will leave because they have felt used and abused.

Enhancing Their Gifts is one program that can do all this for our people. It’s a way for organisations to invest in their people’s talents and gifts, a way to focus on their strengths, not on their weaknesses, to be the coach not the critic. It believes that when we play to our people’s strengths, we get enhanced performance. 

Maree Harris can be contacted on +61 408 351 631.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

16 ways to help your employees to feel more valued, fulfilled, and loved

Below are four typical definitions of employee engagement.

“The extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do and feel valued for doing it.”

“The extent to which employees are emotionally and intellectually committed to the organisation as measured by three primary behaviours - Say, Stay and Strive.”

“The extent to which employees commit to something or someone in the organisation and how long they stay as a result to that commitment.”
Corporate Executive Board

“A state of mind in which employees feel a vested interest in the company’s success and are both willing and motivated to perform to levels that exceed the stated job requirements.”

I define employee engagement as “the degree to which the majority of employees feel valued, fulfilled, and loved.”

Why valued, fulfilled, and loved?

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 often 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.

16 ways to help your employees to feel more valued, fulfilled, and loved

1. See people as they can be not as they are.
2. Understand the defining moments in people’s lives and help them to bring the lessons learned in these moments to their work.
3. Be aware of and have continual conversations with people about what really matters to them.
4. Help people identify what is special about them, their unique gifts/talents, and then make it simple for these gifts/talent to be enhanced
5. Lead people in ways that inspire and positively influence them.
6. Manage systems and processes not people.
7. Catch people doing things right and let them know you caught them by having appreciation conversations with them.
8. Formally celebrate with people at least every 90 days what’s going really well and what could be better.
9. Help people to create personal and business development plans that mean they own their piece of your strategy execution plan.
10. Ensure conversations about performance are about what has been agreed to in their plan.
11. Help people to be accountable when things don’t go according to plan, not by being critical, rather by asking great questions that inspire candor and authenticity.
12. Be kind at every opportunity.
13. Excel at telling and sharing authentic and inspirational stories about other people’s successes. Publicise these stories widely.
14. Be open and honest about mistakes and celebrate and share the learning.
15. Recognise and reward people for remarkable performance in ways they suggested.
16. Gift without attachment to getting back.

When people feel valued, fulfilled and loved, they live the values written on the wall and deliver the value to other stakeholders that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve. Valued, values, and value are the keystones of success in every organisation on earth that is thriving.

How well are you thriving?

Take the Valued, Fulfilled and Loved Performance Possibility Pulse Check here and find out exactly where you are at.

As a reward for completing the pulse check you will be able to download my Changing What’s Normal book or if you already have it you can access my ebook that many people use as a 1 year personal development program - 52 Actions of the Wise.  

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Are you listening and taking appropriate action when your employees tell you the truth?

Below is my most recent Changing What’s Normal Candid Conversation where I interviewed Gary Ryan from Organisations That Matter about candor and high performance.  Gary is an accredited mentor of my Enhancing Their Gifts System. 

Candor is a key to high performance.  How much candor is there at your place?

Are you listening and taking appropriate action when your employees tell you the truth?

And are you telling the truth to your employees?

In his most recent newsletter John Kotter says:

“We want the truth from our leaders. But we have become cynics, accustomed to twisted messages from politicians and company marketing communications so wordsmithed that they lack meaning. These things do not inspire us, or pull us toward someone in a leadership position, with an attitude of wanting to help. They do the opposite. Great leaders have the ability to surprise and reassure people with their direct and honest communication. This is an essential part of what makes them great. And it is especially important in times of big change and uncertainty - such as CEO transitions - where it can smooth the way for the incoming leader.”

My next Changing What’s Normal Candid Conversation is on April 15th (USA)/April 16th (Australia) with Jim Cathcart, 2013 Top 5 Sales & Marketing Speaker (4 years in a row!), 2012 Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame, Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, The Cavett Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, National Speakers Association , The Golden Gavel Award, Toastmasters International 

Most of all Jim is a great and wise human being. I have no doubt that during this webinar you will gain unique insights into how to bring your best self to your life and work.

I have been a big fan of Jim Cathcart since I began speaking professionally in 1991 when one of my early mentors suggested I check out his work.  I then had the privilege of interviewing Jim in New Orleans in 2004 and then heard him speak to a very special event for professional speakers held at the United Nations in New York in 2008.

I will be exploring true charisma (gifts) and high performance with Jim.
Details here.

"I believe that everyone has a gift, something to contribute.  In most cases there are multiple gifts within us" from The Acorn Principle by Jim Cathcart

Be the difference you want to see in the world.