Friday 31 May 2013

Value is always in the eyes of the beholder

For many years now I have been writing at least 500 words every day.  I find it a great personal exercise to maintain clarity and live my life on purpose.

This is the first month where I have publicly shared my thoughts every day.  It has been a challenge.

Should I continue to share every day?  Value is always in the eyes of the beholder.  I would value your thoughts publicly or privately on how much value my musings are to you.

I learned from Alan Weiss a great concept for success in my business, that of charging value based fees for my professional services where value, as Alan says, is as perceived by the buyer.

My quest is to extend this concept to my writing.  I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Out of our minds

I often reflect on the actions of some politicians, business and religious leaders, and zealots of all persuasions, and think we must be out of our minds!

Refreshing then to read the book "Out of our minds' by Sir Ken Robinson, the latest book to make my recommended reading list.

Sir Ken says

"... everyone has huge creative capacities as a natural result of being a human being.  The challenge is to develop them.  A culture of creativity has to involve everybody not just a select few."

"Organisations that make the most of their people find that their people make the most of them. That is the power of innovation and creative leadership."

How are you co-creating a culture of creativity at your workplace?

And what are you doing to help your employees to release their best?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

There is only one of you in all of time

The words below sit on my desk as a daily reminder of why I get up every morning and embrace each day with passion and purpose.  

They are by Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) the American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence that Picasso had on the modern visual arts.

"There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action
and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.  
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost."

The purpose of everyone's life is to be the best one-of-a-kind that we can be.

A key purpose of leadership is to inspire people to bring their uniqueness to their work.
I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Leadership usually falters without management.  For many management is still about planning, directing, organising, and controlling people.

I believe that kind of management to be a hangover from the industrial revolution and we all have a headache as a result.

Management for me is actually the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Leadership is all about people and management all about systems and processes.  People can be lead.  They can't be managed.

Most of the challenges in our world today have much to do with trying to manage people and a failure to lead them.

In my Changing What's Normal Talent Maximisation Seminar, the only presentation I do that is open to the public, I address these issues and share my latest insights from my real world work.

For the Melbourne seminar on June 6th the registration desk closes at 5 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time 31st May.  The Adelaide seminar (June 12th) registration desk closes 5th June and the Sydney seminar (June 18th) registration desk closes 11th June.

To arrange a seminar in your city please get in touch with me.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

In order to disrupt the status quo we must disenthrall

Disrupt or be Disrupted is an excellent blog by my friend and colleague from France David Ednie

The words disrupt and disruption are being used everywhere of late and caused my own reflections earlier this month. 

The thing is talk really is cheap.

How are you actually disrupting the status quo when same no longer serves humanity?  I agree with David that if we are not being disruptive (for good) likely we are being disrupted.

Please share your thoughts.  Sharing is caring.  The more we care the more we share.  More important than sharing however is what we do.  And particularly what we do together.

A post in a LinkedIn group by a colleague from Buy1Give1 Steve Pipe linked to this article 
It was the headline that caught my eye UNICEF: Facebook Likes Don’t Save Children.

In a world where lip service is easier than ever what we actually do becomes even more important.

A key to actually doing things that really matter is to disenthrall.

We have become enthralled, even enchanted with many things like Facebook likes, and deeper things like market capitalism, representative democracy, fundamentalist religion, just to name three of our vast number of deeply entrenched beliefs where we need to change what’s normal.

In December 1862 Abraham Lincoln gave the following advice

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.  The occasion is piled high with difficulty.  As our case is new so we must think anew and act anew.  We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.”

As a matter of urgency we need to heed Lincoln’s advice today in order to disrupt the status quo when same no longer serves us.  We need to think and act anew.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 27 May 2013

Sunday 26 May 2013

Co-creating a culture of creativity

This Sunday's sparkenation.

"... everyone has huge creative capacities as a natural result of being a human being.  The challenge is to develop them.  A culture of creativity has to involve everybody not just a select few."
Sir Ken Robinson in 'Out of our minds'.

What are you doing to co-create a culture of creativity?

My contribution is The Enhancing Their Gifts System and The Changing What's Normal Torchbearer Tribe.  Will you join me in either or both of these?

Please let me know what you are doing as well.  I am happy to spread the word for anybody who has their shoulder at the wheel of co-creating a culture of creativity.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Saturday 25 May 2013

The apparent trouble with values, ethics and morals

CEOs love to live their (expendable) values, but not their morals is a great blog post by Toby Webb Founder of Ethical Corporation.

It's Thomas Midgeley day a post by Seth Godin is also on this topic.

Seth’s post links at the bottom to a July 2011 post by him No such thing as business ethics.

“Ethics, also known as moral philosophy which refers to the reflection upon moral actions, it is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct."  In philosophy, ethics studies the moral behavior in humans, and how one should act.”

“Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong). A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with "goodness" or "rightness."”

I list the above to demonstrate that ethics and morality can be confusing subjects.  Throw in self-righteousness or fundamentalism or however you wish to describe the “my way is the only way” edict, and the waters are definitely muddied.

As is often the case solutions to complex issues are usually simple. There is a simple solution in organisational life to living values - agree on the behaviours that demonstrate the words and measure how people live them and make such measurement integral to everything to do with performance.

Simple solution right?!  Of course the devil is in the execution.

In my experience it is possible to reach agreement with other people on what doing the right thing means.  It is also possible to co-create an organisational culture of catching people doing things right.  Such cultures are a breeding ground for high performance.

Embracing simplicity and possibility are keys to success in the modern world.  Neither is easy.  If living a good life however was easy there would be no need for blog posts like this!

What’s your view, your experience?  I would love to know.  The more we share what we believe to be right and reach a shared-view about what this means behaviorially, the better our world will be.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday 24 May 2013

Together we can change the rules

Inspired by this blog post by Jeffrey Hollender I joined The Rules.

Across the world, the gap between the rich and poor is getting wider. This is not just bad luck, and it's not an accident. It is a direct result of rules: the laws, policies, practices and beliefs that shape our world. 

Will you join me in changing the rules? 

For the first time in history, people around the world have both the opportunity and the ability to work together to change these rules so that they benefit everyone, and not just the few. I took action yesterday by joining The Rules--a citizen-powered movement to change the rules that perpetuate inequality and poverty. By joining The Rules, you will help build our voice and shift the balance of power back to the people. 

Be the difference you want to see in the world by joining The Rules.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Win/win/win/win in the moments that really matter

The four moments of truth for customers

Procter and Gamble coined the phrase "First Moment of Truth" to describe the first few seconds when a customer in a shop sees a product and decides to buy it. 

P & G also coined the phrase "Second Moment of Truth" i.e. when people get home and experience what they have bought for the first time.

Recently Google has added a third moment of truth "Zero Moment of Truth", the moment before people buy.  Download an ebook and a handbook about ZMOT.

Even more recently Brian Solis has added a fourth moment of truth for customers - UMOT “Ultimate Moment of Truth” when after using your product or service customers share their experience with others.  I added Brian’s excellent book What’s the Future of Business? changing the way businesses create experiences, to my recommended reading list.

All four moments of truth for customers really matter to the success of your business.

Even more important for me are moments of truth for employees who after all create the first three moments of truth for customers.

Are you catching your employees doing things right?  Do you show appreciation to people in these moments?  

And when an employee doesn’t quite do things right, do you berate them or help them learn and be more accountable next time?

Every interaction and transaction with employees and customers matters.  
Some moments matter most.  What are these moments for you and how will you ensure they are win/win/win/win. A win for your employees, your customers, the world, and yourself.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Do your perception lenses need cleaning?

They say that perception is reality.

How often in the past week did you view a situation, a circumstance, a person, with a perception clouded by your own bias/beliefs/point of view?

"We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are."
The Talmud

It is very difficult to be empathetic, to feel as others do.  It is an ongoing challenge to see what others see. Both are well worth the effort.  To feel and see as others do not only enhances our own experience, it betters our relationships.

Real leaders have a gift for holding opposing views in their minds at once and to make decisions for the common good even if doing so doesn't reflect personal choice.

To enhance this gift clean your perception lenses and remove prejudice to this way or that.

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

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

15000 days - guest post by John Shackleton

My friend and colleague emailed me the following in response to yesterday's post Do your milestones really matter?

15,000 days

It’s my birthday this week and on Thursday I’ll enter my last year when my age will start with a 5! That means that if I live to be 100 (which is getting quite common these days) I only have about 15,000 days left to live. 

That’s only 15,000 more of those ‘first cup of tea of the day’ experiences, only 15,000 more chances to kiss my wife goodnight and tell her I love her and only 15,000 days in which I can give everything that I am to everyone that I meet.

Obviously I can’t guarantee that I’ve even got 1 more day left but 15,000 is probably around the most I can expect and that doesn’t seem like a lot to me. I’ve got a maximum of 15,000 more chances to give my best and make this world a better place. 

Nobody knows how many days they have left but if you only had 1 day left to live what would you do with it? Where would you go and who would you see? What would you say to the people you love? How would you spend your last day on earth?

Knowing that nothing is guaranteed to any of us - the real question is: Why aren’t you doing those things today?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 20 May 2013

Do your milestones really matter?

I had cause recently to review the milestones of a major project one of my clients is working on.  The project doesn't directly affect my work with my client however it is affecting some of the people I am working with.  I noticed something in my review of project papers - most of the milestones are towards the end of the project.

I asked the project leader how come there weren't more milestones along the way to let people know that they are on track.  He asked me why I was asking. I replied that it seemed to me based on conversations with people I am working with, that the project may actually be off track and that part of the reason is that people don't actually know where they have been or exactly where they're going.

Turns out that the project was off track.  A few short meetings with stakeholders has it back on track and now there are milestones in place that really matter and that tell people exactly where they have been and precisely where they're going.

In the various projects you're working on in your life and work do your milestones really matter?

It is easy to get of track.  As a general rule I find that is is prudent to make the investment up front and really make sure that in whatever we're working on we have identified milestones that matter all the way along the path to reaching our goals.

In the Enhancing Their Gifts System we teach people to spend a lot of time and energy getting a shared-view around
where we are (reality)
where we're going (possibility)
why we're going there (purpose)
how we will get there (strategy)
who will do what and when (execution)
how we will know we are on track (milestones and lead measures)
how we will behave along the way (values)

Shared-view makes it simple for people to own their unique piece of the execution puzzle. Shared-view must be revisited continually. In the Enhancing Their Gifts System (ETGS) every employee has a 90 day personal and business performance possibility plan (PPP) that is their piece of the execution puzzle. Crucially within the PPP there are agreed milestones so that people can always know that they are on track.  The critical piece of ETGS is that daily conversations take place about performance and centre around shared-view and the actions detailed in PPPs.  This means that everyone knows where they are at every single day.

What systems and processes (management) do you have in place that ensure milestones really matter?

And how inspirational and influential (leadership) are you in ensuring that your people are creating milestones that really matter to them?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 19 May 2013

“Disconnect from goals and results: Be in the moment.”

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Each Friday I look forward to reading the musings of Kevin Roberts CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi.
This week he referred to a article about winners mentality.

The words “Disconnect from goals and results: Be in the moment.” standout out for me.

Below are links to further thoughts about focus and time that I have shared on this blog this month:

Say goodbye to being time poor.

Is your smart phone out smarting you?

Manage your energy not your time.

If you are attached to goals/results and are time poor your self-leadership is off course and therefore so is your leadership for others.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations.

Saturday 18 May 2013

It's the preparation that makes the paint look great

For a few weeks now my wife and I have had paint colour cards distributed around our home to help us decide on the colours for our indoor repaint.  The real work begins however after we have chosen the colours.  The real work is getting the surfaces prepared as well as we can.  We know from past experience that when you prepare a surface well the paint looks great.  The painting is the easy bit.

Whatever we do well in our lives clarity, decision, and preparation precede execution.

The clearer we are and the better prepared we are the greater the outcome.

Reflect on how clear you are and how well prepared you are with all your major goals.
Maybe adjustments here and there and greater diligence is need to ensure premium results.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday 17 May 2013

“You manage things, processes, systems and performance, but never people”

The statement “You manage things, processes, systems and performance, but never people” was highlighted in a recent advert for a course about performance reviews in the May 2013 issue of Management Today.  The statement by course facilitator Angela Williamson jumped out at me because minus the word performance it is a statement I have been making for 20+ years!  Is this crucial aspect of performance leadership finally catching on?

Elsewhere in the same issue of Management Today are reported reflections from Dr Marshall Goldsmith, perhaps the preeminent leadership coach in the world today - “Most organisations focus on what they can do to engage the employee, not what employees can do to engage themselves.”

Lead people.  
Leadership is about inspiration and influence.  I describe leadership as
the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Co-create with your people a culture that inspires leadership being everyone’s business.  Such a culture enables people to engage themselves.

Your success however will largely be determined by how much management is in harmony with leadership.  

I describe management as
the practice that makes it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

How could your leadership be more inspiring and influential?  
And how much simpler do your systems and processes need to become so that people are consistently able to bring their best to the work?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 16 May 2013

The Changing What's Normal Talent Maximisation Seminar

This seminar is the only presentation I make that is open to the public.  In the seminar I share 9 key ways to fulfill your number one role as a leader - maximise talent.  This flyer outlines the details.

The registration desk is now open for

Melbourne on June 4th
Adelaide on June 12th
Sydney on June 18th

This seminar is also scheduled for Ballarat on July 3rd and Geelong on July 4th.
Registration desk opens for these two seminars soon.  To register your interest for either of these cities or to explore hosting a seminar in a city near you please telephone me on +61 418 807 898.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Contagious - Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

This book is the latest to make my recommended reading list 

Here is what I said about the book in my review on Amazon:

“I was drawn to this book because it is research based not another self proclaimed guru book about why ideas/products spread I enjoyed the stories and simplicity and many memorable phrases that aid remembering key points and taking action This is a very practical book I am using to enhance my work”

If you want your idea to spread or to increase the word of mouth about your product or service, get this book and take action.

Be the difference you want to see in the world

Tuesday 14 May 2013

How are you integrating the legacy of loved ones who have past?

A year ago today my mother passed away.  I have thought about her often.  

Her legacy for me is many things.  Her graciousness stands out.  

I have always been grateful in my life yet not always gracious.  Over the past year I have been integrating graciousness into my being.  I have a long way to go to live in the manner of my mother!

How are you integrating the legacy of loved ones who have past?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 13 May 2013

Do you need to rediscover/reimagine the purpose of your business?

Here is a short interview I conducted with my friend and colleague Andrew Thorp, the Co-Founder of Mojo Your Business. Andrew shares great insights into crafting, sharing and telling stories, an essential skill every leader needs to live on purpose.

Purpose is the foundation for success of every business and every life.

Andrew’s insights may prompt you to rediscover/reimagine your purpose.

Doing so can make a massive difference to your future.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 12 May 2013

You are not your thoughts rather the being who is having them

This Sunday’s sparkenation.

You are not your thoughts rather the being who is having them.

What thoughts do you need to modify or change to achieve what you want?

Maybe you need to modify or change your intentions and feelings as well.

Intentions, feelings and thoughts precede actions.  If your actions are not leading you to where you want to be consider modfiying or changing your intentions, feelings, and/or thoughts.

"The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are."
Eckhart Tolle

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Saturday 11 May 2013

How do you surround yourself with happy memories?

When I first began to work overseas regularly 11 years ago I began to buy a cap in each new city as a momento.  My practice has developed to the point where I am now quite a collector of caps!  I surround myself with my collection in my office.

Every time I enter and leave my office and during times of reflection I am often inspired by the happy memories each cap triggers.

How do you surround yourself with happy memories?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday 10 May 2013

Commitment and high performance with David Penglase

Here is the recording of today's changing what's normal candid conversation with David Penglase, author of the great book Intentionomics.

The next changing what's normal candid conversation on June 4th is about connection and high performance.  My very special guest is Amanda Gore.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

PS David provides a great summary of our conversation in his blog.

Thursday 9 May 2013

“Manage your energy, not your time.”

I planned a triology of posts about saying goodbye to being time poor.  As I contemplated this third post I read The Four Elements Of Physical Energy And How To Master Them by Leo Widrich which opens with the following sentence: “Manage your energy, not your time.” This is the quote that made Tony Schwartz famous, and it’s one that I believe best represents a truly efficient lifestyle in the 21st century."

I decided I couldn't go past this concept and Leo's words that follow.

And you will love Tony Schwartz's work too I think.  I know I do, particularly his ground breaking work The Way We're Working Isn't Working.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Is your smart phone out-smarting you?

This is a sequel to yesterday's post Say goodbye to being time poor.

One of the great time suckers, if we allow it, is technology.  Overuse can ruin our lives.

Just yesterday I saw a man come within an inch of being run over by a taxi.  He was paying attention to his phone instead of the traffic lights.

In the coffee shop where I am writing this there are several groups of people obviously colleagues/friends at tables.  No one is communicating with those around them.  They are all on their phones and most are not talking on them.

Smart phones like a lot of technology are great additions to our lives.  If we are being controlled by them however we are being out-smarted.

Resolve today to see the vast amount of technology available to us as simply tools we can use to make our lives easier nothing more.

Focus today and every day on real human connection and keep your use of technology in perspective.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Say goodbye to being time poor

In her Huffpost Daily Brief of 3rd May 2013 Arianna Huffington says:

“Are you busy right now? Are you already behind on what you wanted to accomplish today? Or this week? Or this year? Are you hoping this will be a short post so you can get back to the million things on your to-do list that are breathing down your neck? Okay, I'll get on with it: Our culture is obsessed with time. This is our real deficit crisis, and one that, unlike the more commonly discussed deficit, is actually getting worse. In fact, researchers have given this crisis a name: "time famine." 

Being time poor is one of the 6 great challenges that must be overcome to ensure a highly successful 21st century enterprise.

Just one intention and two actions are needed to say goodbye to being time poor.

Everything begins with intention.  Stop trying to do everything.  Not everything really matters.  Most of what we choose to do each day doesn’t really matter.

What choices are you making?

Get over everything you can’t do anything about.  Instead focus on what you can do something about.

What are you trying to achieve that you know in your heart you can’t change or influence?

“The only difference between successfully people and unsuccessful people is that succesful people have successful habits.” 
Earl Nightingale

The time rich people I know are clear on the critical actions they must take and achievements they must fulfill regardless of whatever else happens.  Their actions and achievements have become habits.  One habit that really matters when it comes to being time rich, following rituals.

Rituals - the actions we must take regardless of whatever else happens.

Following rituals means deliverables, the outcomes we must achieve regardless of whatever else happens, are a consequence not a focus.

“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
John Lennon

Two actions: get past the barrier of busyness and start following rituals.

Getting past the barrier of busyness

I am often reminded of the barrier of busyness. I meet a lot of people bound up by busyness.  

Here are some of the tell tale signs

*Problem Solving & Decision Making processes not being followed
*Decisions being continually revisited
*Documentation is produced in lieu of action
*Meetings occur with key players absent
*Meetings have no agendas
*Meetings are poorly conducted
*Whiteboards full
*Diaries full
*Inboxes full
*Negative body language of staff
*The leadership and management relationship harmony point has not been found
*Massive confusion exists between what is communication and what is information sharing

I could go on and on.

Here are a 11 actions to take to ensure you are not bound by busyness

1) Educate yourself and others that communication requires both sending and receiving and results in agreement even if it is agreeing to disagree. Information sharing on the other hand is one way
2) Refuse to attend meetings where there is no agenda available well in advance. Don't discuss anything not on the agenda
3) Review your effectiveness weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly
4) Set aside time each week to do nothing. I sit under a tree somewhere for 4 hours per week. It is amazing how refreshed we can feel just by doing nothing
5) Get your leadership and management balance right. For some of us it is 80% leadership and 20% management, for others the other way round, and many other combinations. 

Remember leadership is about people and effectiveness. Management is about systems and efficiency. Leadership is art, management practice. The two must be in harmony for us to be the best we can be

6) Do not tolerate negativity in any shape or form
7) Block out a lot of space in your diary where nothing is planned. You will be astounded at how much more effective you become when your diary is no longer full
8) Work on things that are important and urgent. Forget the rest
9) Celebrate process more than outcome
10) Spend time with positive children as often as possible. They have an amazing sense of self, initiative, curiosity, creativity and wonder
11) Focus on standards or rituals not goals or results

On the recommendation of my colleague Maria Carlton, who is a best selling author and publisher, I purchased a book by Derek Mills The 10 Second Philosophy®.  Derek is known as The Standards Guy®

Derek’s book is about having standards instead of goals.  It is a very refreshing read and I have added his book to my recommended reading list.

For many years my focus has been about following rituals, what Derek calls standards.  I know that if I follow the right processes for me then the outcomes take care of themselves.

Is your focus on outcomes or processes, goals or standards, results or rituals?

Some people live in the past, stuck usually with intentions, feelings and a mindset about what has happened.  We can’t change the past.  We can view what has happened with different feelings and new eyes.  We can see failure as a learning opportunity for example rather than as a negative.

Some people live in the future, stuck usually with intentions, feelings and a mindset about what might happen.  We can’t guarantee the future.  We can vision what is possible and take one step at a time towards possibility.

The most successful and happy people who I know live in the present.  We can change the present. We can control what happens within the sphere of what is in our control, our intentions, feelings, thoughts, and actions.  Sure it is important to have direction, goals, targets, to begin with the end in mind.  The trick though is to focus on the now.  This is what processes, standards or rituals can do for us.

The author of another great book, The Power of No, Eckhart Tolle provides the following wise advice: “Stress is caused by being 'here' but wanting to be 'there'.” 

Be crystal clear about where you want to go and who you want to become, then focus on where you are now and on being the best you can be right now.

My rituals one pager may help you.  Please download it and then create your own or something similar.  

In his book Derek Mills provides a template for setting standards in personal health and fitness, environmental, relationships, family, emotions, career, and time. Get his book and check it out.  

Whatever tool you use the point is this: Have something that helps you to maintain your focus in the now.

The Chinese philosopher Laozi is quoted as saying - "The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet," often translated “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Focus on the single step you are taking right now.

I have very clear goals in all aspects of my personal and business life written down.  The key is not my goals.  The key is my execution plan to achieve them and sticking to the plan. Rituals/standards/processes help immensely. 

What execution plan are you following?


Some people live in the past.  Their focus is on what happened. 

Some people are future focused. Their focus is on what might happen. 

The most successful and happy people are crystal clear on where they’re going and their focus is on what will happen in the present.

Keeping standards or following processes or rituals are what the most successful and happy people do.

What modifications/changes will you make to be more focused on the present?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 6 May 2013

How are you being a disruptive influence for good?

I vividly remember the fear of going home one day when I was 15 with a school report card that was dominated by the same words from most teachers “Ian is a disruptive influence in class.”  My father, well known for doing good, exclaimed “I don’t know why you can’t be a disruptive influence for good!”  Seed planted.

It took awhile for the seed to grow and quite awhile longer for me to nurture it until it became a blessing rather than a curse.  

Being disruptive is in my nature. It’s a part of my DNA. Sometimes my being disruptive has caused challenges for others. I still don’t get it right all the time, yet years of enhancing my gift means most of the time my disruptions are valued by others.  And so I was delighted last week when a client introduced me to a prospective client as a “disruptive influence for good.”  Circle complete 44 years later!

Disruption is somewhat of a buzzword today.  I think it is much more.  Our calling as leaders is to disrupt the status quo when same no longer serves humanity and to bring about change or influence change that is good for people and our planet.

In your own way how are you being a disruptive influence for good?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 5 May 2013

Very few good outcomes are solo efforts

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Very few good outcomes are solo efforts.  Success is usually a combination of several factors.  Here is one of my favourite combinations that has stood the test of time for me.

"The unique combination of desire, planning, effort and perseverence will always work its magic."
Jim Rohn

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Life is like a cup of coffee

My 85 year old mother-in-law emailed the link to this video to my wife who forwarded to me.

I find it inspirational. Take time out to watch this weekend. In 3 mins 32 secs you might change your perspective about how you see yourself and other people for the better.

You may find it better to watch with the sound turned down.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday 3 May 2013

Are your values working for you? - guest post by Tony Delaney from Brownie Points

I am always impressed when I visit a company and they have their values, and often vision statements, proudly displayed in reception.

What is less impressive is that when asked, many employees do not know these values. 

In one recent visit to a prospective client, a large liquor wholesaler, the receptionist who had been with the company for three months and was sitting next to the value statement told me she had not read it, and no-one had mentioned it to her during her induction!

At the HR Summit last year a key discussion focused on the importance of company values in understanding and improving employee engagement. It concluded that:- 

“Employees who believe their company’s senior leaders support and live the company’s values are much more committed to their employers, with significantly greater levels of workforce engagement resulting”.  

It sounds easy – However, fewer than 50% of employees know their company values, and 75% say that they don’t believe them. If this is the case, it seems to me that senior management should be spending time ensuring that their staff really do understand the values that are driving their company.

Starting out is not difficult. The following basic principles will go a long way to ensuring success:

* Clearly define your organisation’s values  
* Explain to your staff why these values are important to ensure business success 
* Communicate the values to all staff constantly and consistently  
* Live the values – from top management down – if your staff don’t see you ‘walk the walk’ why should they?

Following these simple principles is likely to motivate employees to become more engaged with your company, which will give your organisation a greater chance to do great work and be successful.

If you would like to learn how Brownie Points can help you build employee engagement call us today on +61 3 9909 7411 or email us at

Be the difference you want to see in the world

PS You may find my Are Your Values on the Wall Lived in the Hall? story of value.

Thursday 2 May 2013

You may have to shift your strategy to fully unleash your talents

If you find yourself not doing your best work every day you may have to shift your strategy to fully unleash your talents.

In a recent blog post Seth Godin said “Your talent deserves the shift in strategy that will let you do your best work.”

I couldn’t agree more.

You are a unique person.  Do you truly know what is unique about you?  Are you bringing your specialness to your work every day?

The Doing Your Life’s Work Pulse Check may help you.   And completing it means you can also download my Changing What’s Normal book with my compliments.

Not sure about what’s special about you?  Need to shift your strategy to unleash your talents?  Take up my Monday morning mentoring complimentary offer and I will help you. 

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

The 13 Viewpoints of WorkLifeSuccess - guest post by Seth Kahan

This is a guest post from Seth Kahan best selling author of Getting Change Right and Getting Innovation Right.

Leaders require a customized approach to self-care. Their capacity and ability has immediate and profound consequences for the quality of leadership they provide. If you are a leader, your job is unique. In contrast to those carrying out predefined work, you put your efforts into shifting the status quo, arousing and inspiring peers, igniting collective intelligence, and facilitating a coordinated response from disparate parties, all the while staying in touch with changing circumstances and shifting tactics to maintain strategy and achieve results. This high wire act requires a very effective form of self-care.

Strong leaders sustain their vision and energy by improving their health, having fun, pouring their energy into worthy causes, creating special interactions with their families, having deep relationships with their partners, pursuing spiritual development, and cultivating their energy so they can give their best. This is in fact what makes it possible for them to get change right, challenge after challenge, rising more than they are pushed down, and prevailing to see results achieved.

It’s a tall order for anyone. Those who are at the growing edge of change know that it requires significant strength and even greater mental clarity. They dedicate themselves to achieve inner and outer energy and power so they can rise to meet the demands of their work.

I call this high-spirited, high-performance state WorkLifeSuccess. Success in work is integrally connected to success in all aspects of life. They are, in fact, indivisible. Enthusiastic, clear-minded, high-functioning people deliver inspired leadership. Achieving this state of pervasive flourishing makes it possible for you to take on major challenges.

Here are thirteen ways of looking at the world, viewpoints if you will, that effective leaders practice to shape their behavior and responses to the many unpredictable situations they face as a result of being a leader:

1. I care for myself in all situations, optimizing every set of circumstances to achieve the best possible environment for my health and well-being. I actively cultivate my physical, mental, and spiritual development.

2. I care for others, seeking the well-being of all I can assist. I see myself as part of a larger community.

3.  Nature is the foreground in which life is played out. It is not a backdrop I learn by studying the patterns of nature and working in accord with them.

4. I see my work as an extension of my life, fully integrated with my well-being. I recognize that my joie de vivre is a priority that increases my capacity and effectiveness.

5. I keep things in perspective. I don’t get bent out of shape by small things. I know what is negotiable and what is not. Almost everything is negotiable.

6. I recognize the power of my closest relationships, investing what is required to develop and keep them in balance, especially those of my inner circle.

7. I participate in the joys and sorrows that are a natural part of life, giving myself fully to my experience in all dimensions.

8. I harvest learning from every experience and carry it with me, applying it wherever it can have positive impact.

9. I work for those things I believe in, dedicating my life’s energy to goals that sustain my spirit and call out my personal best.

10. I know that solutions to challenging issues are often not obvious and can be effectively solved by wading into the complexities of the situation, then emerging with resolutions that provide the best of all available options.

11. I see the challenges of my world as a personal opportunity to shape the future for the better. I am a force of nature.

12. I recognize that my understanding of the world is made of mental models and do not confuse them with the world. I am always learning and adjusting my mental models to grow with the experience, knowledge, and wisdom I gather.

13. I look at both the parts and the whole, recognizing that each fragment has its own integrity while at the same time everything is fundamentally connected and together forms a larger, unbroken body.

These thirteen viewpoints create a powerful synergy, working together to grow a human being’s leadership capacity in all realms of his or her life.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.