Tuesday 30 July 2013

Of five basic levels of communication, two make a difference

There are five basic levels of communication - cliche, opinion, fact, feeling, and optimum.

A lot of our communication is cliche, small talk.  It matters, yet not much.

At the opinion level we share what we think.  This matters too, yet not much.

Communicating what we think are facts makes life interesting.  Men often communicate at this level.
When we have a shared-view about facts we have opened the door of collaboration.

Communicating at a feeling level really counts.  Women often excel at this level.  Some men are getting better.  When we can reach a shared-view on how we feel about situations and circumstances we have opened the door to great relationships.  Improved performance follows.

To say I feel ... in an open and candid way is powerful.

Even more so when we express a feeling about another person's behaviour and they don't take it personally, rather they are able to respond "Thank you so much for sharing that," and mean what they are saying.  Such conversation are a sign of great relationships where problems are not confused with people or personalities.

The ultimate level of great communication is optimum.
How do I know in a room of 100 people that my wife is reading to go home?  Answer:  It's just a look.

Optimum communication requires optimum relationships where we have gotten to know people at a deep level and because of our emotional connection are able to communicate with just a look.

If you want to really improve performance in your like and work:
Express your feelings more.

Be gracious when others express their feelings.  Often a simple "Thank You for sharing that" and meaning it, works wonders.

Build relationships of such great emotional connection that words are important yet looks really matter.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 29 July 2013

Is it time to realize your stupid idea?

I am currently reading 'Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid - How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value' by Daniel Isenberg.

It is a great read with many wonderful insights like
"most value is in the realization, not in the recognition."

I am sure you have an idea that is yet to be realised.  Many have told you it won't work and so you have shelved it.

One of the many great case studies in the book is about Local Motors whose founder Jay Rogers says "If everyone tells you it is a good idea, run the other way."

What is your unrealized idea?

In a world where the masses are desperately trying to seduce the masses, segmentation and niche are increasingly important.  To be realized your idea doesn't need to be taken up by the masses, just a few who will love it and tell others about it.

I have been told my whole life that this or that won't work.  I have had many failures. My successes have often come from seeing value in situations that others disparage as worthless.

If Daniel Isenberg is right, and I believe he is, a successful future in business is at very least in part about seeing what every one is doing and then doing what no-one else is. The future is about connecting the dots in ways that no-one else has. The future is about seeing value where no-one else does and finding a niche, just a few people who will feel that your idea is the best thing since sliced-bread!

Is is time for you to dust off that idea, the one everyone you have shared it with, mocked?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"There is no standard price on ideas. The creator of ideas makes his own price, and, if he is smart, gets it." Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich

Sunday 28 July 2013

Happy, sad, glad, or mad

This Sunday's sparkenation.

This week you will feel and encounter four basic emotions, happy, sad, glad or mad. You will choose to feel one of the four in any given moment.  Everyone you meet is choosing one of these four as well, whether conscious of it or not.

Catch yourself feeling, and be in the moment. Then choose how you will feel in the next moment.

And when you sense how other people you meet are feeling, feel with them in the moment.

Life is not complicated.  We make it so.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Saturday 27 July 2013

Finding the constants amongst the calm and the chaotic

Later today my nephew will marry his sweetheart.  A day of joy and celebration awaits family and friends. 

There will also been moments of sadness as some of us will reflect on the fact that my parents are no longer around.  My father never knew that his grandson followed in his footsteps and has become a craftsman like him.

This is life, joy and sadness, and often at the same time.

What we value in life are the constants, the stable things that are there regardless of the ebb and flow, the pain and pleasure, the joy and sadness.

Think about this in your business too.  Yes your customers/clients want you to be remarkable.  They also need you to be reliable.  When things are going well and not so well we look for the stable. We want assuredness.  We want to feel safe and secure even when all hell is breaking loose.

In your business and your personal relationships what are the constants, the things that you can really count on no matter what the situation?

And who is counting on you?  How do others count on you?

The calm and the chaotic are both natural parts of live.  Whoever is constant in times of triumph and trouble are the leaders we follow.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday 26 July 2013

What is your strategic edge?

I participated in a strategic edge session with the executive team of one of my clients yesterday. Prior to our meeting each member of the executive had done their homework exploring with various stakeholders an answer to this question: What is our strategic edge?

Strategic edge is about what we do that our competitors don’t, which is very hard to do, or it is about doing what others do, just better, differently, or more uniquely.  

It’s all about people of course.

We reached a shared-view in our session that there were several actions we need to take that involve doing things we have never done.

What would you and your people need to do that you have never done in order to create a strategic edge for your business?

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
Thomas Jefferson

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Contribution and collaboration and high performance with Paul Dunn

Yesterday I was thrilled to chat with the Chairman of Buy1Give1 (B1G1) and the Wizard of Wow Paul Dunn.
Accredited mentor of the Enhancing Their Gifts System Paul Lange joined us. Enjoy!

Find out all about B1G1 and start making your impact today.

For the next changing what's normal candid conversation my special guest is Mike Lowe from Initiatives of Change. Mike is also an accredited mentor of the Enhancing Their Gifts System All the details here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Any questions?

I received an email from Ian Brodie yesterday with the subject line Any Questions?  Ian’s email began 
“I'm going to spend the next week or so answering marketing and sales questions you send in to me.

Answers will either be on an email like this, or if it works better for an explanation, on a short video.

So - if you have any questions on marketing or sales - just hit reply and send them to me.”

Along with Ian above and some of Seth Godin’s recent Q & A posts I am prompted to offer you the following:

Please email me ian@changingwhatsnormal.com with any questions you have about talent enhancement and I will give my answers in future posts.

In addition if you are interested in joining me on Google+ hangouts for live Q & A sessions please let me know.

For many years now live Q & A’s have been a feature of many of my conference and in-house presentations and therefore I am keen to do as above if you would find me doing so to be of value to you.

Thank You in anticipation!

Be the difference you want to see in world.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

The beauty of bite sized chunks

I made a comment to my wife while we were watching TV last night "I reckon the bloody ads go on longer than the show!"  "It seems like it" she said.  So we checked: show 4 minutes 40 seconds, ads 3 minutes 23 seconds; show 6 minutes 50 seconds, ads 3 minutes 30 seconds.  A similar pattern continued.  I was wrong, yet no less annoyed!

Life is like this though.  We do stuff we want to do and then get interrupted.

The beauty is in bite sized chunks.  Most big things in life are achieved a little bit at a time.

And often too what seems like an interruption at the time, can turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein

Monday 22 July 2013

There is simply no need for a war on talent

All war is a waste, particularly an unnecessary waste of human life. 

And a war on talent I think is a chronic waste of time, energy, and money, particularly when what is spent is usually on the few rather than the many.

The phrase ‘war on talent’ was introduced by some McKinsey consultants in the late 90’s.  The poster child was Enron. Enough said!

Where are you investing?  Are you focusing on the few or on the many?

A great example of focusing on the few is CEO salaries.  In several companies such salaries are several hundred times that of the lowest paid employee.  Nobody is worth that much more.  The CEO role is important for setting direction and strategy and for many other reasons.  What really matters though is execution.  In my view the most value is in execution and therefore every employees role is vital and valuable.  Our focus should be on enhancing everyone’s talent.  Doing so in my view is the number one role of leadership.

An old adage says that a champion team will usually beat a team of champions.  We need to be paying more attention to this in our organisations.  Sadly though what we have a tendency to do is - reward the so-called talent, the top performers, beat up on the average performer, and threaten the non-performers!

The magic is in the middle as depicted in the following diagram

The Corporate Leadership Council 2004 survey of 59 organisations and 50000 employees blew my mind. It’s findings “13% of employees actively disengaged from their work, 11% of employees fully engaged in their work, 76% of employees open to persuasion through increased emotional commitment.” It was the 76% figure and the words ‘open to persuasion’ that blew my mind.

Guess what? Despite billions of dollars being spent on employee engagement nothing much has changed.The 2012 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study involving 32000 workers found that nearly two-thirds (65%) are not highly engaged.

There is a great opportunity for you by focusing your work on the majority of your people, those ‘open to persuasion’ (neither engaged or disengaged).  A key factor in helping my clients to dramatically improve performance, and the bottom line as a consequence, is to work on improving the majority of people’s performance not just a few.

I always read with interest the New World of Work newsletter from the great people at Tomorrow Today. 

The following in their September 28th 2012 issue caught my attention:
“It seems amazing, but many businesses still don’t understand the positive impact engagement can have on their bottom line. For example, various recent studies have found:
- that the most engaged companies have 5 times higher total shareholder return over 5 years than the least engaged companies (Kenexa)
- that companies with high levels of engagement outperform the stock market index and post shareholder returns 22% higher than average. (Aon Hewitt) Yet Gallup still reports that 71% of employees are disengaged.”

The magic is in the middle.  

Are you engaged in a so-called war for the so-called top people? or are you focusing on helping the majority of your people do a little better?  Do the math. If 10 percent of your people improve one percent how does that compare to between 51% and 76% of your people improving one percent?

There is a body of work around that is suggesting talent is overrated and that consistent effort in the right areas is what matters.  Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers talks about how most successful people are so by putting in 10000 hours of work.  In Talent is Overrated: what really separates world-class performers from everybody else, Geoff Colvin talks about ‘deliberate practice’.

I believe lasting success is about talent and effort.

This I know beyond any shadow of a doubt - every human is born unique.  We all have gifts/talents and a one-of-a-kind way of using them. We need to put in the effort to enhance what we were born with and what we learn in our lives.  

The real job of leadership is to inspire and influence people to become all that we are capable of becoming, which Robert Louis Stevenson once remarked is the only purpose in life.

If you are engaged in a war on talent I suggest you stop today. It’s a chronic waste of time, energy, and money.  Instead invest in enhancing the gifts/talents of your average performers, more than likely the majority of your workforce.  The magic is in the middle!

Here's how I can help you.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 21 July 2013

The pull of a pounding heart

This Sunday’s sparkenation.

I love this Out of Africa blog post from Kevin Roberts, world-wide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi.

Here’s to all of us doing stuff this week, online and in-person that makes our hearts, and the hearts of those we connect with, to pound.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Saturday 20 July 2013

All change is personal first - never forget it!

I have to keep reminding myself and my clients that all change is personal first.  Relationship change follows, and organisational change is a distant third - never forget it!

Whatever needs to change in your organisation begins with the change you make yourself first, then your immediate relationships, and then the relationships of those people with everyone else.

If you would like some help with personal, relationship and organisational change, in that order, complete my Valued, Fulfilled, Loved Performance Possibility Pulse Check.  As soon as you complete it and press send you will be able to download my Changing What's Normal book with my compliments.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday 19 July 2013

Maintaining our attitude of gratitude

Almost 35 years ago I faced a life-threatening illness.  My doctors advice at the time to have "an attitude of gratitude" surprised me.  I thought I could die and he wants me to be grateful!  I have learned over many years a truth - when we are grateful for what we've got, we can have more of what we want.

I am grateful today for being alive, for another opportunity to bring my unique self to the world.

How grateful are you?  Does your gratitude shine through in all that you do?

Here are some ways to maintain your attitude of gratitude.

There is some great advice too in this blog from Kare Anderson.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Is your organisation predominantly transactional, interactional, or transformational

If you cannot put your hand on your heart and say you are in the transformational boxes below I can be certain your employees are not as productive as you need them to be and therefore your organisation is not achieving it's goals.

Need help?  Contact me today.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Taking public transport is good for the environment. It can also be good for the soul.

There was a bit of a delay on the train yesterday and one commuter wasn't backward in coming forward in complaining.  I commented "At this hour it is still better than being in the car."  We had a bit of laugh together and shared war stories about peak hour traffic.

I take public transport at every opportunity because I know it is better for the environment to do so than to drive my car.  It also costs considerably less than driving, in time, energy, and money.

Taking public transport is also good for the soul.  I get a lot done in the 6 - 8 hours every week I spend on trains and trams.

I also get to observe human nature up close.  The priceless insights I glean often challenge my thinking and sometimes stir my heart.  Always the insights provide me with content and context for my work. As the old TV show used to say "there are a thousand stories in the naked city."

Have you caught the train lately?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

A great free coaching offer from my colleague Paul Lange

Paul Lange is an accredited mentor of my Enhancing Their Gifts System.  I caught up with Paul last week and he told me about his amazing free coaching offer.  Check it out.

Paul has a great mind and a big heart.  He has a great project happening and needs 50 people, hence his amazing offer. Find out all about it.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 15 July 2013

Have you shown appreciation to your storytellers/sharers lately?

I will be privileged later this week to be in the audience when the Managing Director of one of my clients updates all staff on the organisations story.  He is passionate and articulate and despite visiting many locations of late I have no doubt he will have high energy.

When the boss is a great storyteller/sharer it inspires others to be and do the same.  How great a storyteller/sharer are you?

Sharing the ongoing story of your shared-view about
where you're going
why you're going there
how you will get where you're going
who will do what and when
how you will behave along the way
and celebrating milestones and achievement

are all critical to the ongoing success of your organisation.

Who else apart from you are telling and sharing your story?
Have you shown appreciation to them lately?

Successful story telling and sharing is a key way to differentiate yourself and your organisation because when done remarkably it helps you to rise above the noise. There is more noise today than there has ever been.

Anyone can learn the art of storytelling.  To master this art takes a big investment of time, energy, and money.  Are you making such an investment?

Authentic stories, those we feel and see ourselves in, really matter.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 14 July 2013

The magic is in the middle

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Despite a zillion employee engagement surveys and billions of dollars invested (or is that spent?) in most organisations there are more people neither engaged or disengaged than there are engaged or disengaged.

The magic is in the middle.

This week focus on the middle.  My story below may help you.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations

Saturday 13 July 2013

The simple success test: Is your intention to give or to get?

"I would like people to be more caring" was one of my clients answers to my question "What do you want more of in your business?"  I then asked "In all that you are doing personally how much are you demonstrating that you really care? After a long pause my client reflected that she wasn't as caring as she could be.

Whatever we want more of in our lives and in our businesses, the journey begins with what we give.

The simple success test: Is your intention to give or to get?
Is your intention being reflected in your actions?

Want your people to care more?  Care more for them.

Want to be appreciated more? Be more appreciative of others.

Want your customers to have a greater experience? Ensure your employees are having a great experience.

Take some time this weekend to reflect on the law of reciprocity This definition in Wikipedia may help you.  Then focus next week on giving without attachment to getting back.

Please let me know what happens.  I would love to share your successes so that others may benefit.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday 12 July 2013

How many times this week has conventional wisdom been wrong for you?

Integral to my work in helping my clients improve performance is reviewing systems and processes with the people that use them. Often I ask "So why are we doing it this way?"  A common answer is "Well we have always done this."

It staggers me that so often there is a lack of common sense in much that happens in organisational life, and we just keep doing things because we always have. Of course this means we usually get the same results.

My favourite definition of stupidity is
“Expecting a different result by continuing to do the same old thing.”

I also love this definition of idiocy
“Doing something different and still getting the same result”

My bet is that this week you have found at least once that conventional wisdom no longer works for you.

A lot of what is happening in the world today is the same old thing in a different disguise.  The dark side of social media for example is just advertising in a different medium.  Social media in many ways is also an oxymoron, it's actually anti-social!

Take some time out this weekend to reflect on what you're doing that actually isn't producing the results you want.

Next week take on at least one of your systems and processes and ask How can this be done differently, better, or more uniquely that will produce a better result?  Then change what's normal.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less."
General Eric Shinseki

"In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."
Eric Hoffer

Thursday 11 July 2013

Triumph and Disaster - guest post by Colin Pearce

I value getting the Kick in the Pants newsletter from my friend Colin Pearce.
Sometimes it’s painful!

Here’s Colin’s latest.

Allow me a verse of Rudyard Kipling's poem, 'If'. 

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;


You'll be a man, my son.

Print it and keep it with you to read when things upset you next - say in five minutes' time.

Just last week

A friend offered a PR interview to a newspaper employee whose job is to make up enough words to fill his column's worth each week.
(Some people call people like this 'journalists' but it's a term as questionable as some of the things some of them write.)
The article reflected nothing like the tenor of the interview and distorted my friend's entire intent and gave him the wobbles for a week.

Unfair stuff happens to all of us

I've had work colleagues who found me a bit unusual (imagine that!) and thought it a good idea to exaggerate their impressions to other team members.
That set me back in relationships with newcomers.
I've had students in my higher education classes do the same thing and make it hard to start the next semester because of the gossip from the last.
I've had audience members and paying clients get the snots over something I've said or done.
Because of three snippy people who hold some sort of power over the boss's ear, I've had to give the money back.
Only  three times in thirty years mind you, but it still gave me the 'irrits'.

Fair stuff happens to all of us too

Triumph and disaster are both imposters. 
They both pretend to be permanent conditions—our life's definers.

Triumph in one battle, one game, one deal, even two, three or ten championships, does not render a person permanently triumphant.
How many champion footballers, tennis players, track athletes, not to mention cyclists, have you seen triumphant in a race only to be in court for drug or alcohol abuse later.

And disaster! What a boaster—a wind bag.
She tells you the car crash, the fire, the flood, the death of a loved one, the demise of a business is a life stopper.
She whispers insidious untruths,
'You blew it.'
'Your future is ruined.'
'You'll never stand in front of a crowd and hear thunderous applause again.' 
'Now what are you going to do?'

Yet how many times have you seen people lose their home in a bushfire, lose their legs in a bombing, come back smiling loving and being an even better person than they were?

My Kick in the Pants for you: Life is nether fair nor unfair. A sane response to stuff—good or bad stuff—is the only thing over which you have any control.

Be the difference you want to see in the world

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Another great way to recognise and demonstrate leadership

They say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.  Leadership is often like beauty.

One way to recognise leadership is to see what people do with opposing ideas and whether or not decisions are made in the best interests of the common good or self-interest.

How are people seeing you?

Are you the kind of transparent leader who shares your thoughts and feelings and explains the thinking behind the decisions you make?

Is is clear to others the process you go through to arrive at decisions?

When you are wrestling with the difficult, do you invite others in for conversation and deliberation and then arrive at a shared-view together of the way forward?

The above are all signs of authentic and transparent leadership.  

We need more of this kind of leadership.  Are you up for it?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Crack Up)

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Eliminating useless meetings

Some good advice here from the CEO of LinkedIn Jeff Weiner about eliminating ineffective and inefficient meetings, the curse of a lot of people's lives.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 8 July 2013

What most political and religious leaders seem to have forgotten that real leaders haven’t

May we live in a world from today where we deeply respect one another's beliefs and ideologies.

May we live in a world from today where no-one takes the life of somebody else because they don’t have the same beliefs or ideologies.

May we live in a world from today where no-one need fear persecution because of what they believe or don’t believe.

May we live in a world from today where leadership is not about believing and demonstrating that our way is the only way, instead may we respect and honour our differences and find a way forward together.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

My thanks to Paul Simbeck-Hampson who shared the Hindu proverb below on Google+ yesterday which inspired this post.

"There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,
all leading to the same place.

It doesn’t matter which path you take.

The only person wasting time 
is the one who runs around the mountain
tellling everyone that his or her path is wrong."

Saturday 6 July 2013

Independence, Interdependence and dependence all have their place

Congrats to my American friends and colleagues on another celebration of your Independence Day.

Some great thoughts by Sonia Simone in her July 4th blog How to Find Your Own Independence Day 
Be sure to click on the link in Sonia’s post 'Doing work that energizes you?'

Independence is important.  It means in part we are not relying on others.

Dependence can be important too. My best friend in his last year of life never liked being dependent on others and he had no choice.  Being dependent prolonged his life though and in the pain of caring for him there was also joy.

Interdependence is also important.  Nothing great is achieved alone.  We all need others with us to achieve our dreams.

Take time out today to reflect on the value to you and those you care about of independence, dependence and interdependence.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday 5 July 2013

Beware of the boomerang effect

‘Boomerang’ by Michael Lewis is a delightful book albeit a scary one.  It’s a very well-researched written like a thriller novel about the breathtaking stupidity and shameful self-interest of the people who caused the GFC, most of whom are yet to be held to account.  It is also a book about the incredible and on-going dismal failure of our political systems.

Being from the land of the boomerang as a hunting weapon I know how boomerangs can kill.  And having thrown them, I know that properly crafted boomerangs come back to you.

Whatever we put out in life, properly crafted or not, comes back.  This concept is as old as time of course.

In everything you do beware of the boomerang effect.  What your giving will be reflected in your getting.  And sometimes the getting is years after the giving.  This being the case it is likely therefore that a return on investment is still coming for those who engaged in foolish and greedy behaviour in the financial world.

The great thing about life is that it is never too late to make amends.  If you have wronged others whether you meant to or not, make amends today.

Another interesting aspect of Michael’s book is that many people made poor product choices pre GFC and so there are really no innocent bystanders.

If you have made a poor buying decision in the past like taking out a loan you knew you couldn't afford you have been just as foolish as the lender.  Learn your lesson and never make the same mistake again.

Be careful of the future choices you make.  In the age of the internet all products and services can look like and even feel like a million dollars. Not everything is as it seems.

And if you are walking by foolish, stupid, careless, or greedy behaviour your silence is in effect agreement. Take a stand. Speak up.  There is no future for the world if the majority of it’s citizens sit in silence while all hell is breaking loose.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Phases of business growth - What successful business leaders focus on - guest post by Bob Bradley

This is a guest post by Bob Bradley, the founder of MD2MD. Bob is passionate about Managing Director Peer Groups, people, and business in general. 

One of the things I've observed about high growth businesses is that they go through similar phases, and the successful entrepreneurial leader has to change their focus accordingly.

Phase 1 is all about understanding the market opportunity.  Or as I prefer to look at it -understanding the problem that exists in the world that needs to be solved.  And key here is of course understanding not just the problem, but also the number of people who have that problem, how much of a problem it is for them and how much it is worth to them to solve it.

Phase 2 is all about developing the product, or again perhaps thought of as your brilliant solution to the problem.  This stage, and the word brilliant, are critical because IF you have a brilliant solution to the problem and you can build a business that is brilliant at solving the problem for the value people with the problem place on having it solved you'll make a lot of money - at least until others copy you or innovate better solutions.

Phase 3 is then about getting real paying customers on board. And this may overlap and iterate with phases 1 and 2 as you home in on your target - the phenomenal business model!  And this is really the biggest test of all in getting a business going.  Getting your first customer is often the most difficult bit.  Once you've done that you can use them as a reference for how good you are to get the second (which is still difficult, but probably less so) and then you're off! You have a real business with revenues.

Which if you are successful leads straight on to stage 4. The key challenge then becomes coping with the customers and keeping them coming.  And the business leader has to move on their focus to recruiting and retaining good staff to do some of the work all these customers are creating, and to help with finding more like them. And that is as far as many entrepreneurs get!  Their growth levels out at the volume of business they, and the staff they can manage themselves directly, can generate and handle.

The best entrepreneurs though move on to the next phase.  They introduce the dreaded 'management'.  The processes, systems and structures that enable the organisation torepeatedly sell and deliver quality in increasing volumes.  In other words to grow!

By that stage many people find they've built  a nice business that generates them a nice income with a nice lifestyle.  And that's it.  But there is one more stage that is critical if the entrepreneur leader want's to remain and entrepreneur and pursue the next opportunity - or even retire to their yacht.  And that is when they put in place a strong management team that can run the business without them - at least on a day to day basis. Their role then evolves to one of Leadership - developing the vision & direction, motivating the team to go in that direction and being able to trust them to get on with it.

In summary the phases and the focus needed in each phase are:

*Market - Defining the (big enough and valuable enough) problem
*Product - Developing the economic and effective solution
*Customer - Proving that someone will pay to have their problem solved
*Staff - Recruiting and retaining great people
*Management - Enabling the business to do what it does in volume
*Leadership - Motivating followers to pursue a shared vision

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Success in life and work is like a postage stamp

“Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability of sticking to one thing until it gets done.” Josh Billings, 19th century humourist

One of the major differences between highly successfully people and others is that successful people stick at things that matter longer.

Rituals are a key.  Remarkable results require sticking to rituals which in themselves aren’t remarkable.  Sticking to them is what makes the big difference.

Please download my one page rituals as an example and then create your own one pager.

Please read more about the purpose of rituals, their proven value, use, and why they really matter in my post Are you focused on goals or standards, results or rituals?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Connectivity doesn't mean connection

I am currently studying the book The New Digital Age by Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, Director, Google Ideas.  It's both a scary and enlightening read.

The authors state that soon connectivity i.e. access to the internet will be available to every human being.  While this will be a great thing I have been reflecting that connectivity doesn't necessarily mean connection.

How many people are you connected to via the internet/social media whom you actually have a real human connection with?  If you are like me your answer is, not many.

I am of the view that regardless of how great technology becomes it will only ever be a tool for living, not the be all and end all some people seem to think it is.

What has always mattered and will always matter is real human connection.

We live in a connection economy for sure.  The pay off though is not about economics, it is about how real human connection enriches our lives.

Another book I have been reading lately is Million Dollar Referrals by Alan Weiss.  I have been following Alan's advice in my own way for more than a decade because it works.  In Million Dollar Referrals Alan highlights the power of in-person connection.

As you Tweet, Like, Google+ and carry out your choice of the zillions of activities available via the Internet and Social Media reflect on these questions; do you have harmony between what you do online and in-person?  Are your online and in-person actions benefitting one another?

Life is always a both/and never an either/or. Pain and pleasure, relationships and tasks, women and men, leadership and management, life is a myriad of opposites.  The trick is the relationship harmony point between opposites. Online and in-person are no different.

I love online for many, many reasons
I can easily share and spread what I am passionate about.
I can easily share and spread what my friends and colleagues are sharing that I feel others would value.
It makes my life simpler.
It enhances my visibility, credibility, searchability, and approachability, all of which are key to my business success.
I love the ease of which I can do research, a key to all of my work.
I love the fact that community with people I have shared passions with is enhanced online.
I love the fact that I can provide my clients with resources they find valuable that you can have 24/7 access to whenever it suits you.

I love in-person more however
There is nothing like being in the room, being truly present with other human beings.
My great value to my clients is in-person.

Do you have harmony between what you are doing online and in-person?  Are both leading you to deeper human connection with those you love and those you do business with?

One of the great reminders of reading Million Dollar Referrals is that most of my business over 22 years has come directly and indirectly from relationships of high-value and mutual reward with less than a dozen people.

We have connectivity.  One day soon this will mean everyone on the planet will be at our doorstep.

What matters though is not the masses.  What matters is the relatively few people in our lives with whom we have a deep emotional human connection.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 1 July 2013

Problems present great opportunities to innovate

Often when we solve a problem we reinstate the status quo.  We return to normal.

Problems present great opportunities to innovate, to change what's normal.

This week and forever after instead of solving a problem and returning your performance to where you were before the problem,  take the opportunity to innovate and take your performance to a higher level.

Inspired by Alan Weiss I keep this diagram as a reminder that problems and challenges are life's great opportunities.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.