Friday 31 January 2014

Where are you wasting your time and energy?

I have recently completed a careful analysis of where I am spending my time and energy. At the end I asked myself where I am wasting either time, energy or both? My answer - online. This didn't surprise me, yet taking a closer look did.

I checked my LinkedIN connections for example and found that of my connections within 100 miles or so of my home, 62% are my mates not my market. Of the mates very few are really mates in the Aussie tradition, more weak ties.

Where are all my emails coming from I asked myself? When I checked most were from "mates" trying to sell me stuff I don't need or want! I estimate over 80% of my emails are from people trying to sell me stuff, none of whom have ever bothered to contact me personally.

I spent a part of yesterday unsubscribing from most of the lists I am on. My criteria was Is what I am getting really good value? I answered no more than I thought I would!

I checked all the websites I have visited in the past 90 days. Rarely did I find insight. I Google everything and end up with information not insight. Most of my time I discovered is spent going down dead end streets and getting frustrated because I can't find what I actually want.

I updated my won't do list yesterday too. I reckon following it will give me at least 20% more time and a heck of a lot more energy to do what really matters to me and to give more value to my prospects and clients.

Where are you wasting your time and energy? 
What will you modify/change to get more value for yourself and to provide more value to others?
Do you have a won't do list?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 30 January 2014

Knowledge is no longer power. Trust is power.

The latest Scanlon Foundation report  contained the following percentages:

"The percentage who have ‘little or no trust’ in these institutions in 2013 is: 

Hospitals 11% 

Police 12% 

Public Schools 13% 

Employers 18% 

Legal system 29% 

TV News 37% 

Trade unions 44% 

Federal parliament 52% 

Political parties 58%"

Those over 20% above don't surprise me at all. Employers at 18% did surprise me somewhat.

Where would you rate as an employer?

Knowledge is no longer power. Trust is power.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Is your business overcoming the challenges of the ieconomy?

As the owner of an iphone I find this is a very interesting graphic.

Series of Pulitzer Prize winning ieconomy articles very insightful too.

What effect is the new world of work having on your business?

And what are you doing about it?

To thrive in business in the 21st century you either do what others aren't doing, which is very hard to do, or you do what others do, just better, differently, or more uniquely. Likely too that you are serving a clearly defined niche or niches. This is all about differentiation.

Differentiation is not enough though. We must be remarkable at Discovery, Drive, Delivery and Distinction too.

How well are you doing?

Please complete the diagnostic below and email it to me and I will email you my paper about The delightful design of a distinguished 21st century business. If appropriate I will also discuss with you a No BS mentoring program just for you to help you to close your performance gaps.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

The league of intrapreneurs

In the midst of the greatest entrepreneurial revolution in history it is easy to forget intrapreneurs.

Real leadership is everyone's business. The league of intrapreneurs site has a lot of great resources.

Please check them out and refer to those people you know inside organisations who truly want to make a difference from the inside out.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 26 January 2014

Are you an artist at work?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

"A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist."
Louis Nizer

Are you an artist at work?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 24 January 2014

Who’s got your back?

When I conduct remarkability reviews for organisations I start by finding out answers to 96 questions.

If you'd like the questions please email me

The first 5 questions are to do with board conformance and performance.

You do have a board don’t you?

My wife and I and the only directors of our private company. We don’t have a formal board yet we do meet monthly to review the strategy for the continued growth of our business and how we are tracking against our execution plan. Are you doing this?

Crucial to the success of our business is the external mentors we consult with and who advise us, some whom we pay and some we don’t. This is where the 5 questions come in.

1) Does each board member have a genuine commitment to your organisation and business best practice in general?

My wife and I can answer a resounding yes. Our accountant for example doesn’t just do our tax returns. He has an abiding interest in whether or not our services work for his kind of business and he pays us for our services like we pay for his.

We have a marketing guru that we consult with regularly as another example.

I also meet with a hard nosed, recently retired business man who makes sure I am free of BS in my business offerings and dealings.

The bottom line. You must have people not involved in your day to day business that are keeping you accountable to your strategy and execution plan. Can you answer yes to this first question?

Intrepreneurs do this too. You don’t have to own a business to have a “board” of people watching your back.

2) Does each board member have real and relevant skills?

My wife and I rely on people with technological, creative, and marketing skills in particular. Who’s got your back in the areas of your work that you need an independent view?

3) Can each board member provide appropriate strategic leadership in compliance, governance or conformance to laws and principles, as well as achieving high performance in a conformance environment?

There is a lot of red tape and stupid bureaucracy in the way of running a business or a leading a team. We all need people to help us to cut through the crap. Who’s got your back?

4) Are board meetings effective and efficient and focused on strategy and execution?

My wife and I invite outsiders who we respect to our board meetings. People not emotionally involved can provide tremendous value. We all need good doses of reality on a regular basis. Who’s got your back?

5) Does the board chairperson inspire and influence the CEO/MD well?

I lead our business. My wife takes care of matters in our business that aren’t core work for me. She is also brilliant at keeping me focused and real. I still need others however to make sure our workplace and every transaction and interaction is BS free and so I regularly ask others to take a look and give blunt feedback and feedforward. Who’s go your back?

I saw some data recently that shows that over 60% of family and private companies do not have a formal board and, of those that do have a board, 83% do not have an external board member. Don’t be one of these statistics.

Regardless of whether we own and lead a business or lead a team we need to be able answers these 5 questions well otherwise we can’t be certain that the dream we are turning into reality is based on solid ground.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Is it time for a common sense audit?

I am often asked what is the biggest challenge facing business owners and leaders wanting to thrive on the challenges of change?

My answer is always failing to follow common sense.

"Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things which is shared by nearly all people, and can be reasonably expected of nearly all people without any need for debate." 

Even after 23 years of working with mavericks who want to step away from the status quo and get things done as simply as possible, I am continually amazed when I begin work with new clients of the failure to follow common sense. 

I often begin my work by asking employees (before I ask leaders) what's worth celebrating and what could be better? Always issues are raised and the employees have simple solutions to what is stopping them from performing at their best, and yet policies, procedures and practices are making it difficult for people to do what they know they should and usually want to do.

Is it time for a common sense audit at your place?

I suggest you begin by reviewing key transaction and interaction points with employees and customers/clients and answer with action some simple questions like:

Are people sending emails rather than walking down the corridor or picking up the telephone and solving issues with people in person?

Can employees solve problems with customers/clients on the spot or do they have to refer matters to someone else?

Do policies, procedures, and practices reflect common sense and do they mean that it is simple for people to bring their best to their work?

While taking action on the above consider deeper issues particularly is there a shared-view with everyone you work with about:

where you are (reality)
where you're going (possibility)
why you're going there (purpose)
how you will get there (strategy)
who will do what and when (execution)
how you will know you are on track (milestones and lead measures)?
how you will behave along the way (values)?

You might be interested in the 96 questions I ask when I do a remarkability review for organisations. You can download them simply by subscribing to my No BS Mentoring newsletter here.

Heeding the following advice is also wise.

"Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it."
Alan Perlis

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."
Albert Einstein

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 20 January 2014

Heart and Mind share is what matters long before market share

This is an interesting Huffington post about why Amazon is popular and Walmart is not and yet the two companies are very similar albeit with different modis operandi.

The post referred to above reminded me of a great line by Scott McKain CSP, CPAE who says
“mind-share precedes market share.”

When it comes to being distinctive Scott is the expert I refer to and recommend.

In my view heart-share precedes mind-share. People buy based on emotions more than anything else.

Where are you are at in the hearts and minds of your customers/clients and your employees?
(see also heart-count in Phil Jesson's guest post on 14th January)

And for customers/clients and employees you are wanting to stay and attract, what do you need to do to gain heart and mind share?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 19 January 2014

Are you sending emails to people you wouldn’t send to yourself?

This Sunday’s sparkenation.

I am sure that you like me have had emails from people already this year with subject lines like:

Sorry for the bulk email however ...
Thought you’d be interested ...
Deadline: 50% off ...

“I'm predicting that we'll finally have a computer that will search my e-mail automatically and delete every message that begins with 'thought you'd be interested,' and then give an electrical shock to the sender to remind him or her to stop sending that kind of message.
Scott Adams

This year my goal is to never send an email to anyone that I wouldn’t send to myself. How about you?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Management myths causing mischief, mayhem and mis-management

This is an interesting blog post by Stephen Lynch where he shares some myths and facts about management from Professor Bob Sutton from Stanford.

I would add to Professor Sutton’s myths and facts the great myth in my view management itself when it comes to people. People can’t be managed. This is a hangover from the industrial revolution and sadly there are still people out there who think management is about planning, organising, directing and controlling people. It isn’t. See my article Stop Trying To Manage People here.

My BS Workplaces manifesto may help you too. Remove the BS about people and management in your workplaces and watch your results soar.

We need real leadership and real management otherwise mischief, mayhem and mis-management will continue to rule.

Leadership in my view is the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable they are to everything they do. 

Leadership falters without management. 

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

Leadership is about people. Management is about systems and processes. 

Get the harmony right for you between leadership and management and likely 2014 will be a great year for you. Get it wrong and disaster is a heart-beat away.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Are you your employees worst enemy?

There are some great insights in this post on strategy + business by Kannan Ramaswamy and William Youngdahl.

I would be interested in your thoughts. Please email

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

You are the U in USP - guest post by Phil Jesson

This is a guest post by my colleague from the UK Phil Jesson.

I love Phil's concept of heart-count. I am sure you will too. 

I highly recommend all of Phil's 10 key tasks for 2014. Read on.

If you would like help with these tasks please contact Phil or myself.

All organisations are the same! 

There are directors responsible for some things and directors responsible for other things. There will be a good looking manager with no talent at all, an office bookie, a seasoned barrack-room lawyer, a cheerleader, some yes-men and a group of managers designing new reporting processes that make it difficult for others to get their work done on time. There will be a scapegoat, a trainee scapegoat and a supervisor for things beginning with “H”. In an office somewhere, a director will be writing a tailored mission statement (that looks like everyone else’s) and drafting “shared core values” (that nobody else shares or values!)

Elsewhere in the organisation there will be someone who doesn’t know what they are doing planning the departure of those that do, someone who thinks they are the top dog and someone who thinks they are the underdog. There will be an empty office from which strange sounds emerge (particularly after the Christmas party), a very bright, under-used graduate doing the filing and old “what’s his name?” sitting quietly in the end office. There will also be a PA working with the Directors who is actually running the day-to-day business, a sales-prevention department that claims to be customer-driven, a director responsible for moving the goalposts, a bitter and twisted manager with plenty of unresolved baggage helping to train impressionable new recruits and a relative of the chairman struggling to make it on their own merit.

There will be a keeper of good jokes, a keeper of bad jokes, a top salesperson who could sell an egg-beater to Humpty Dumpty’s widow, a young lad in Finance who always knows the sports results because he is constantly monitoring them on the web and a smarmy new sales manager who is busy pursuing his second conquest in the sales office!

Organisations are basically the same but you, the Chief Executive,
are the difference.
Next time you consider your organisation’s Unique Service Proposition remember that the “U” in USP…… …is actually You!

So if “you are the USP!” what do you need to do to be successful in the next decade? Without doubt, the best way to build a successful profit centre will be to build a successful passion centre! It starts with your values. These shape the culture which leads to employee fulfilment which creates customer satisfaction and loyalty which produces shareholder value.

A key measurement along this journey will be the heart-count in your organisation …..i.e. the number your people who have their hearts and minds passionately aligned with your goals and strategies. Ideally, of course, your organisation’s heart-count should match its headcount!

So what do you need to do in 2014 to build a passion centre, not just a profit centre? Here are ten key tasks for 2014.

Passion With Customers

1. Become an expert in the customer’s world – if you do, you will never have to sell again!

2. Add value not cost. Try asking yourself this question – “if my company was arrested and charged with adding value would there be enough evidence to convict it?”

3. Exceed customer expectations – just meeting them is not enough. Audit key accounts regularly to stay in touch with customer perceptions

4. Work as a partner not a supplier – make the decision to stand out from your competitors rather than stand up to them

5. Treat sales and service as a “team sport”. Remember that the quality of service you give the customer is influenced by the quality of service your people give each other

Passion With People

6. Leadership starts at the top or it does not start. Look around the boardroom table as Directors get the workforce they deserve. “There is no such thing as a bad regiment – just bad officers” (Field Marshall Slim)

7. Develop inspirational leaders, not irritating bosses – organisations need leaders capable of inspiring willing action

8. Develop leadership qualities not leadership skills – you don’t remember Ghandi and Churchill for their time management skills or their ability to run a good meeting!

9. Build a one-page strategic plan - everyone needs to understand it so that they can support it …………..then deliver it.

10. Make “change” a healthy process - increase the amount of involvement that people have in shaping their future. Interestingly, people do not resist their own ideas – if they help to plan the battle they won’t battle the plan!

Phil Jesson can be contacted via his website or telephone +44 7774 241 207 or email

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 13 January 2014

The Future of Work is Already Here. Have you made the shifts you need to make?

I read The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here by Lynda Gratton in one sitting.

I immediately added this book to my recommended reading list.

I joined Lynda's Hot Spot's Movement too.

Helping my clients to re-invent the world of work is an abiding passion.

I am also passionate about resources for humans that can help people to find more joy and meaning in their work.

This book is such a resource.

Here's the review I posted on Amazon.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Value what you feel before what you think

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Value what you feel before what you think.

Value what others are feeling before their thinking too.

And value people for who they are before what they do.

“Most of us think about ourselves as thinking creatures who feel but we are feeling creatures who think, and we live in a society that values what we think over what we feel”

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a leader in the world of neuroscience

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday 10 January 2014

There is only one of you in all of time - be the one

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.

Be the kind of leaders other can’t help but follow. This begins with you being the only one of you in all of time.

My paper on the 3 essential roles of remarkable leadership will help you. Please download it here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world

Wednesday 8 January 2014

The 3 essential roles of remarkable leadership

I can guarantee you will succeed in the change/s you lead by helping you to be breathtakingly brilliant in what I have come to see, after working with leaders in over 40 countries, as the 3 essential roles of remarkable leadership, maestro, mentor/disrupter, magnifier.

I have written a paper for you about these 3 roles. You can download it here.

#1. Maestro of gift/talent discovery and enhancement. This means continually enhancing people's gifts/talents, your own and those of the people around you. It means mastery of seeing people as they can be rather than as they are.

#2. Mentor for the motivated/Disrupter for the demotivated. This means continually preventing and removing barriers in the way of optimum performance and letting people loose within agreed boundaries. It means together with your stakeholders finding and implementing the little things that will make the big difference. It means mastery of accountability conversations.

#3. Magnifier of magnificence. This means continually catching people doing things right and doing the right thing. It means mastery of appreciation conversations. It means co-creating a culture where people feel valued, fulfilled, and loved.

Please carefully read and reflect on my paper about these three roles. And then take action. 

This year my team of mentors and myself have dedicated ourselves to taking on 90 people who want to be breathtakingly brilliant in these 3 roles.

In partnership with you we can ensure

*you are always getting the best out of yourself (all change leadership is personal first).

*your close relationships at home and at work are invigorating (relationship change leadership is second).

*the maximum number of your employees are fully engaged and consistently bringing their best to their work (organisational change leadership is third).

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 7 January 2014

What's in you for me?

Your customers/clients are asking you more than ever What's in you for me?

Where does your customer/client experience begin with you?

One way to answer this is to answer this Who are you sharing your joy with and when?

And who joins you when you share your joy?

Is a crowd gathering when you share your joy?

It doesn't have to be a a big crowd. More and more you can serve a small niche and do very well in your business.

This year in your business share your joy with people who care about it. I expect you will do very well as a consequence.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do"
Steven Farber

"If you show them will they pay you."
Bernadette Jiwa

Sunday 5 January 2014

In every imperfection lies great opportunity

This Sunday's sparkenation.

“There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.” says Leonard Cohen.

Look for the cracks in yourself, your relationships, and in all your transactions and interactions. See the light. Build on the good, let go the bad. Let your light shine. Look for the light in others and illuminate it.

Every moment of every day is an opportunity to do well by doing good. When you screw up a moment learn your lesson and move on applying what you learned.

Have faith in your light and the light of others. When cracks appear rejoice. In every imperfection lies great opportunity.

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
Rabindranath Tagore

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Turn your expectations into reality and make this new year happy by engaging a mentor. Nothing great is achieved alone. I have been engaging mentors, particularly people free of ego and BS, to help me to see the cracks and find the light for more than two decades in my business. I regard doing so as the single best action I take to grow myself and my business.

Please try me. On Monday mornings I offer complimentary mentoring sessions. I do this for two reasons 1) is simply to help others. 2) try before you buy so that you can decide whether or not I can be your performance partner.

Find out how my monday morning mentoring works here and organise your session.

Thursday 2 January 2014

Expect More From 2014 and one way to turn expectations into reality

I was delighted to contribute to an ebook produced by my friend and colleague Gihan Perera for the eighth year in a row.

Please download Expect More From 2014 with our compliments here. 32 experts share a way in this ebook to achieve more of what you want.

My contribution on page 4 is a test I recommend you take. It's about having a distinguished business.

One way to turn expectations into reality and make this new year happy
Taking my test is one thing. Acting on the results is another thing altogether. I can help you.

On Monday mornings wherever you happen to be in the world I offer complimentary mentoring sessions. I do this for two reasons 1) is simply to help others. 2) try before you buy so that you can decide whether or not I can be your performance partner.

Find out how my monday morning mentoring works here and organise your session.

Make your new year happy by being the difference you want to see in the world.