Friday 28 February 2014

Are you facing the naked truth?

This is an insightful post by Mark Hodgson from Thought Leaders Global.

It's the kind of maverick thinking we need to look at our businesses differently than in the past and then do differently in the present.

What say you?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday 27 February 2014

Courtesy counts - perhaps more than ever

I was working on the train yesterday transferring notes from my notepad, which was placed on the seat beside me, to my computer. Seeing two women approaching I picked up the notepad to allow the two to sit opposite one another. "I am happy to sit over there so that you can continue to work comfortably." said one. I said "That will be fine. Thank You for the offer."

A simple courteous exchange between human beings.

As I got off the train, a man, a good deal younger than me who I have never met said "Courtesy counts, doesn't it?" "Perhaps more than ever." I replied.

How often have you said "Please" recently and meant it?

How often have you said "Thank You" recently and meant it?

How often recently have you been party to a simple courteous human exchange?

In a world where most people seem to have their eyes fixed on their phones, tablets or computers, courtesy counts, and I suspect more than ever.

In the scheme of things we live very short lives. Being kind and courteous is a key part of living a good life, one that really matters to others.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Who are you sneezing for?

I have been re-exploring Seth Godin’s Unleashing the Ideavirus, the number 1 downloaded ebook in history. In the early part of this work Seth talks about sneezers, people more likely to spread your idea than others. 

Who is sneezing for you?

Seth says “Sneezers are at the core of any ideavirus. When they tell others, they are believed.”

Who is sneezing for you? And are they believed?

Seth also refers to connectors, mavens, and salespeople from Malcolm Gladwell’s great work The Tipping Point.

People who fullfil these roles are the great sneezers. 

Connectors are people with a special gift for bringing people together and are gifted at spreading the word. Mavens are people in the know and across the detail of things. Salespeople are the persuaders, influencers and inspirers.

Who is fulfilling these 3 roles for you?

And more importantly who are you fulfilling these roles for?

When we are fulfilling these roles for others without attachment to getting back, the law of reciprocity applies and we get back in extraordinary ways. Often we receive, not from the people we freely gave to, rather those in their circle of infuence.

Who are you sneezing for?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

New thinking for adaptive leaders

This is a very good slideshare from Graeme Codrington, who is on my list of the top 10 speakers I recommend you should experience. I also recommend signing up for the Tomorrow Today newsletter which always contains great insights into the new world of work.

Graeme's questions on slides 50 - 53 are well worth asking all your employees.

I perhaps differ from Graeme in the sense that nurturing your top talent is only part of your story in my view. The magic is in the middle more often than the top.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 24 February 2014

What’s your name tag?

This is a great TEDx talk by Scott Ginsberg. It’s humourous and full of great insights for your business.

I particularly like:
“This is not a badge, this is a brand.
How sticky is yours?”

“Everybody is somebody’s somebody.”

“You don’t need an idea, you need an I did.”

To learn more great ways to stand out from the crowd I highly recommend Scott’s book ‘How To Be That Guy’.

More great stuff from Scott.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Mentor for Mavericks/The Mentor’s Mentor.

Sunday 23 February 2014

The great stress reliever

This Sunday's sparkenation.

"Stress is caused by being 'here' but wanting to be 'there.'"
Eckhart Tolle

"The greatest definition for concentration I ever heard is, 'Wherever you are, be there!'"
Jim Rohn

Concentrate this week, one moment, one action, one situation at a time. I guarantee you will experience less negative stress and live a more productive life. And the people who encounter you will be glad that they did because you paid real attention to them.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"If you're in the room, be in the room."
Nigel Risner

Friday 21 February 2014

If execution of your strategy isn’t going according to plan you have a culture challenge

Your strategy is sound. The challenge is in execution right?

If you are certain your strategy is sound and it’s not being executed you have a culture challenge.

Culture is the way we do things around here. If your strategy is not being executed there is confusion, disagreement or apathy about your culture.

A key way to create a culture worth belonging too is finding and maintaining a shared-view with your employees (your chief executors of your strategy) about the following:

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)

The last one (values) in particular determines your culture. Your values aren’t words on walls or in annual reports, they are how you behave.

If your strategy isn’t being executed likely you are not living your values or you do not yet have a shared-view about how you will behave or one or more of the other shared-view areas above.

Be the difference you want to see in the world

Wednesday 19 February 2014

A key test of your leadership

The number one role of remarkable leadership in my view is talent enhancement, your own and those of the people around you.

Please read my paper here, the 3 essential roles of remarkable leadership.

A key test of your leadership is your willingness and ability to draw out what is already there.

”The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” ~ James Buchanan

My story may help you to pass this test with flying colours.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 17 February 2014

Why work doesn't happen at work

I am sure you know that the world of work is undergoing transformation.

Management is not about people or change, it's about systems and processes that support people and help us to thrive on the challenges of change.

Strategy is important yet not as much as culture.

Employee engagement is an outcome of how we treat people and help them to achieve what is important to them, not a pursuit or something we survey every year.

The above are just three of the transformations happening.

The key is how are you transforming work in your business?

This short talk by Jason Fried may challenge you to do more.

I also recommend reading Jason's book Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever.

He is my review of the book on Amazon.

A lot of what used to work doesn't any more. If you are not undergoing transformation of the way you work, likely work will soon be over for you. Unless you are about to retire, I strongly suggest getting on with transformation.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 16 February 2014

Life is as much about creating yourself as it is about finding yourself

This Sunday’s sparkenation.

Life is as much about creating yourself as it is about finding yourself.

Who are you creating and finding?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“This above all - to thine own self be true.”
Polonius: Hamlet, 1, iii by William Shakespeare

"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
Oscar Wilde

More sparkenations here.

Friday 14 February 2014

Pursuing life-work balance is BS

I have always thought that the concept of life/work balance is BS. Balance for me suggests equality. Our personal and business lives will never be equal.

Life-work harmony though is different matter. This difference makes a great deal of difference to my personal and business life.

In my Changing What's Normal book I describe what I see as the 11 laws of life/work harmony.
You can get a signed copy of my book here or download it with my compliments here.

The post Convergence is a worthier pursuit than balance by Daniel Epstein, founder of the Unreasonable Group, worth a read too.

What say you? Life/work balance or life/work harmony/convergence?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

A key reason why employee engagement strategies are failing miserably and what to do about it

Only about 1 in 8 employees are engaged according to Gallup’s most recent study that involved people in 142 countries. Actively disengaged employees outnumber the engaged 2:1.

Why this catastrophic failure to engage employees?

A key reason in my view that it’s not just about your business.

According to Gallup engagement means “employees emotionally invested in and focused on creating value for their organizations every day.”

This is something you want right?

I believe such engagement is an outcome of what you are doing for your employees.

The thing is your employees don’t care about the goals of your business as much as they care about their own goals.

How are you helping your employees to achieve what’s important for them?

What I see is that employers helping their employees achieve what’s important to them end up with employees helping you achieve what’s important to you.

What you should be focused on is helping your employees to feel valued, fulfilled, and loved. A consequence will be “employees emotionally invested in and focused on creating value for their organizations every day.”

I define employee engagement as people bringing their best to their work every day. When people feel valued, fulfilled, and loved this is what they do.

Further insights to help you to take action.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 10 February 2014

difference by Bernadette Jiwa - a must have book to master modern marketing

I have just added Bernadette's brilliant book to my recommended reading list.

It is a must have book to master modern marketing.

Like all great books this one contains a lot of deep insights, common sense, and no tricks.

This is a book that turns marketing on it's head. I find it a refreshing contrast to most books on marketing, particularly social media ones, which are just plain BS.

Find out more about difference here.

Here is the review that I posted on Amazon.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Failure is fabulous

This Sunday's sparkenation.

I failed a few times this week. Happens every day actually.

Failure is fabulous because experiencing it helps us to be better.

Through failing, perhaps more than any other way, we discover our unique gifts/talents and how to better bring them to the world.

I never set out to fail. I set out to push my envelope and be on my edge. Failure is common in this space. In failure we find freedom to be, and success is usually just around the corner.

Celebrate your failings this week. Never be afraid to make mistakes.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.”
Roman Poet Horace who lived just before the time of Christ.

Friday 7 February 2014

When everyone is going global maybe you should focus on local

A lot of consultants/advisers/trainers/speakers and folks in all kinds of businesses are attempting to go global with their work.

And why not. Through technology almost anyone can have a global business.

I went global more than a decade ago and still have many clients in many places. And often I conduct my mentoring sessions with my clients from my home office in my pyjamas! This is never the same as in-person work for me, yet it's convenient and valuable for my clients and very easy and enjoyable for me to do.

Recently though I am focusing on local more than global. For me it's about lifestyle. Why would I catch a plane to go to work when I can drive or catch a train and be home for dinner? Why indeed. This is a both/and scenario for me. I am still keen to work globally online and in-person and yet I am achieving greater life/work harmony for me by seeking out clients around the corner and down the road. You?

My point is that whatever everyone else is doing, maybe you should do something different.

The writer of 'ZAG - the #1 strategy of high-performance brands' Marty Neumeier argues strongly that our differentiation must be radical. I couldn’t agree more.

Marty suggests if everyone is zigging maybe you should be zagging!

Doing what no-one else does is very hard to do.

Doing what everyone else does, is a game for fools.

Doing what others do, just better, differently, or more uniquely is a game we can all play well.

How's your game going?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else."
Albert Einstein

Thursday 6 February 2014

Letting go the status quo is one secret to building a better business

There are many actions that once worked in your business that don’t work anymore. There are things that served your employees and your customers/clients well once that don’t anymore. What are these inhibitors to the growth of your business?

Are you asking why and why not every day of your life?

If you are’nt, likely your people are’nt doing what they do better, differently or more uniquely than your competitors, and therefore it’s only a matter of time before you lose customers/clients.

We can change what’s normal (the status quo), when sameness is no longer serving us, whenever we choose to. And yet we wait.

In today’s world waiting is a costly business.

What are you waiting for?

If you know something should be changed, begin to change it today.

And if you think nothing can be changed, ask your employees, your customers/clients what could be better? Ask outsiders to take a look too.

We are all in the change business. To not change is to go backwards and eventually out of business.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"To act without knowing why; to do things as they have always been done, without asking why; to engage in an activity all one's life without really understanding what it is about and how it relates to other things--this is to be one of the crowd." -- Meng Tzu (Mencious) 379-289 BC

Wednesday 5 February 2014

What sources do your trust for insight?

I invest about 20% of my time in doing research for client work and for my writing. Over many years I have come to trust certain sources. I dug deeper into the following three articles because I trusted the source. All three have valuable insights for me when it comes to ensuring my mentoring work is always client focused. In a world drowning in information insight is becoming increasingly more precious.

What sources do you trust for insight?

What actions do you take every week to ensure that your work is customer/client focused?

These are not rhetorical questions. I am genuinely interested in your answers. Please email your feelings and thoughts to or comment below.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

9 ways to change your conversations and therefore change performance

I have had the honour and privilege of mentoring more than a 1000 business owners/leaders around the world since 1991. Often the journey begins with my clients doing what they know they should do that they currently are not.

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

Once we start doing what we know that we should do that we currently are not, we begin to overcome why we were resisting change/action in the first place. Often my mentoring is about helping people to overcome resistance. 

As we overcome resistance we can more easily modify/change intentions, feelings, thinking, and action, including our behaviours and habits.

As synchronicity would have it I received this blog post called ‘Resistance is a great sign’ from my colleague Keith Abraham at the beginning of researching and writing this article.

What I have found fascinating in observing my own and other people’s resistance is that we all have routine/ritual/habitual responses, positive, negative, and in-between, to almost every situation we encounter, yet particularly when resistance is involved.

Our brains like automatic responses because they mean we can save effort. And our brains are motivated to move away from pain and move toward pleasure, and so we develop our routines/rituals/habits accordingly.

Changing our responses to situations can dramatically change performance, particularly in the every day conversations we have about performance.

And change is simpler than we often believe. We actually love change. What we hate is the feeling we’re being changed.

There are many great insights into the simplicity of changing habits in the powerful book ‘The Power of Habit - why we do what we do and how to change’ by Charles Duhigg. Warning: simple usually doesn’t mean easy! This is such a great book it makes my list of the top 21 business books that I recommend you must read. 

My thoughts on some of Charles Duhigg’s key insights
Habits have 4 components, cue (something that triggers us), routine (our automatic response), reward (something that makes our response worthwhile), and craving (what’s driving us).

We create new habits by finding a new craving.

We can change an old habit by keeping cue and reward and changing our routine.

What I have observed over and over and over in my mentoring work is that when people start doing what they know they should do, they overcome resistance; routines/rituals/habitual responses are modified or changed; conversations about performance change; something profound/breathtaking/pioneering emerges (I never know when this will happen, I do know it always happens!); performance improves.

9 ways to change your conversations and therefore change performance.

Please read the remainder of this article here. I suggest you get a glass of your favourite beverage first. What follows is a learning program for you, including some videos from my Enhancing Their Gifts System, two from Simon Sinek, and a great article on investing wisely in time by Phil Jesson.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 3 February 2014

Imagine a world without shops or factories

This is a very insightful article by BBC Global correspondent Peter Day.

As it did for Peter the following statement really struck me:

"The 20th Century was about dozens of markets of millions of consumers. 
The 21st Century is about millions of markets of dozens of consumers"
Joe Kraus, dotcom pioneer

Many people are hanging on to the status quo even when same no longer serves. Don't be one of the them.

You can succeed in a mass market if you have massive amounts of cash to burn. Mass market businesses are all about price.

Today you can succeed in a niche business or businesses without a lot of cash. Niche businesses are all about value as perceived by the buyer and have very little to do with price.

Niche is simpler than mass. Simple doesn't mean easy. Get niche right for you and your life will be easier.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"Niche guys finish first."
Gihan Perera

Sunday 2 February 2014

The meaning and purpose of life

This Sunday's sparkenation.

I was blessed to learn the joy of giving without attachment to getting back from my grandparents and my parents. When I discovered my gifts/talents and began to enhance them in a spirit of giving, gratitude, and generosity towards others, my life changed. And the great paradox, I continue to receive a 1000 fold on what I freely give.

You can see why I treasure this testimonial from my colleague and self-leadership expert Andrew Bryant:

“Ian is an expert in the development of people and organisations, moreover he is generous to a fault, giving exceptional value whether he is being paid or not.”

What are your gifts/talents?

How are you enhancing them?

How much are you giving of yourself to others without attachment to getting back?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.