Sunday 28 September 2014

Your fans matter much more than your followers

This Sunday's sparkenation.

I am blessed in my business that I have a few fans of my work who take me to meet with people who like, know and trust them, whom they feel would benefit from working with me. My fans also arrange boardroom briefings and seminars for their clients/customers where I add value using my "speakership" and mentoring skills. I obtain 90% of my business through these methods.

My fans matter to me much more than my followers. You?

In your business, particularly with your online presence, is your focus to gain more followers or is it to give value in advance that your fans can use to attract the people you'd like to do business with?

I have an online presence for two reasons 1) to give value in advance of in person relationships and 2) to add value to existing relationships. You?

I use technology such as Skype, Google+, Slideshare, LinkedIn, Twitter,, Pinterest to give and add value. It's a long game. My short game is to meet with people in person because I have an in person business. You?

We must play the long and short game in our businesses. The short game is the key though. Some call it the path of least resistance. As they say about the long ands short games in golf "Driving is for show. Putting is for dough."

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 26 September 2014

What business are you in?

Ray Kroc the founder of McDonalds was fond of saying "We're not in the hamburger business. We're in show business."

Today he might say We’re in the real estate business.

What business are you in?

The first three steps to success in business are:
1) knowing the kind of business you’re in
2) understanding why you’re in such a business
3) knowing the niche you’re delivering value to and why it really matters to them

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"If you're in the idea business, it doesn't matter where you're from. It matters if we care about the change you're making. "
Seth Godin

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Transition precedes transformation

Every time a leader agrees to work with me and I with them transformation of something dear to their hearts is at the top of their agenda. It's the nature of my work.

Before I sign a confirmation of agreement with clients I have stressed that big change won't happen over night and that there is a journey to travel before transformation happens.

Nevertheless expectations are high. There's a tendency to want the change/s to happen quickly. Often there's an expectation of miracles happening in the first week!

For some years now I have helped my clients to keep calm and considered by celebrating with them each time an agreed quantum leap has been taken.

All change is personal first, relationships second, and organisations a distant third so the early celebrations with clients are often about very small personal wins which of course may not be very visible to everyone.

Once clients become familiar with quantum leaps change gets simpler, because the focus is no longer on the end game (transformation) rather the next jump from here to there. (transition)

The resistance to, fear of, and anxiety about change that is ever present in human life is significantly reduced when changes are made one quantum leap at a time. It is also much easier to overcome people's fear of what they may lose by changing by focusing on the next quantum leap.

Are you faced with the need for transformation in your workplace?

Think quantum leaps. Carefully map out transition steps with everyone involved. Celebrate when you take the leaps. The transformation you desire will happen as a consequence of taking the right leaps for you.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 22 September 2014

Your work is not your job

If we accept mountains of research findings job satisfaction is at an all time low and employee engagement isn’t improving despite years of trying and investing billions of dollars.

I am actually starting to question the intention of the research findings into such matters. The sceptic in me says like the nightly news do we keep highlighting what's bad so as to maintain our ratings?

I have long said that job satisfaction and employee engagement are outcomes of how we see and treat people. Such outcomes shouldn't be driving us. Treating people as they expect to be treated should be driving us.

While reflecting on this article about job satisfaction I had a light-bulb moment. When scooping the article via I commented as follows:

"Perhaps the real problem is jobs. People have to complete tasks (jobs) as a part of their roles. The key to satisfaction in roles is relationships.

Stop thinking about your jobs. Think about your role/s and who you're delivering value to which is the purpose of all roles. Ask them how you're doing. As a consequence you may have to change how you do your jobs!"

Could it be that your work is not your job?

Your work I suggest is to deliver value to other people, value that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve. A key to delivering such value is the relationships you have with the people you're delivering value to.

Relationships and tasks (jobs) are two sides of a coin. They need to operate in harmony with one another. Your real work I suggest is the relationship side of the equation. Tasks (jobs) are what you do to fulfill the agreed requirements of your relationships.

I believe that a key aspect of the new world of work, one that is fast replacing the old, means dispensing with job descriptions and replacing them with role clarity statements.

Yesterday I completed a number of jobs around our home. Many I didn't enjoy. I did them because there is a bigger purpose at stake, that of enhancing my relationship with my wife, my neighbours, and my own enjoyment.

In my work I estimate that about 20% of the time I don't enjoy the jobs. They are necessities, part of my work, yet not my work. My real and rewarding work is adding value to existing relationships and forever building and growing relationships of high value and mutual reward.

Your work is not your job. What say you?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 21 September 2014

What's worth celebrating? What could be better?

This Sundays sparkenation.

In my Enhancing Their Gifts System celebrating is a key component.  People using the system celebrate every time they achieve a milestone or goal in their performance possibility plan and continually have appreciation conversations with their colleagues when they achieve and accountability conversations when they don’t.

Every 90 days system users and their performance partners formally ask what’s worth celebrating and what could be better and then upgrade their plans for the next 90 days.  These are wonderfully candid, positive and productive conversations because many informal exchanges have taken place in the 89 days preceding.

What’s worth celebrating in your life and work?

What’s worth celebrating about the life and work of your colleagues?

Share your answers with people you work with.  Doing so, providing you then take action, will improve your relationships.

What could be better in your life and work?

What could be better in your business relationships with others?

Share your answers with people you work with.  Doing so, providing you then take action, will improve your relationships.

Create a performance possibility plan for the next 90 days that begins on the 1st of next month. Type/Write down how you will keep doing what’s worth celebrating and what you will do to change what could be better. You can do this on one page, personal on one side and business on the other.

You just might be staggered at the profound results of taking this simple action, providing you do what you type/write down of course!

If I can help you with this sing out. I'm a pioneer in the creation of one-page execution plans. I'll even email you mine.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 19 September 2014

Are you admired for your candor?

I admire Alan Weiss for many reasons. On reason is his candor.

Alan himself says “We help others most, I'd think, through candor.”

Who do you admire for their candor?

Are you admired for your candor?

In an increasingly complicated world candor and being candid is one way to stand out from the crowd.

Cultures of candor are a key component of the new world of work.

Being a connoisseur of candor is one role change champions play remarkably well.

Examine your candor, being candid, and your candidness, take action, and become a better leader.

This insightful article will help you.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

My top lessons from 10 years on LinkedIn

As of last Monday I have been a member of LinkedIn for a decade. When I joined as a far as I can tell there were less than 1 million members. Now there's over 300 million. Has LinkedIn's growth been valuable for me? Yes. Here's my top lessons:

Lesson 1. Sharing and spreading

I have an in person business so being online is important yet not essential to my success. It's important for me because of the sharing and spreading capabilities and who uses these.

Almost 100% of my clients come from referrals from a small base of fans. These folk value being able to show or let know prospective buyers insights I have provided.

In last Sunday's sparkenation I shared some great wisdom from Yo-Yo Ma “It’s not about proving anything, it’s about sharing something.”

I regard LinkedIn as a professional network more than a social network. It has been and is a good place for me to share and spread insights that people important to me find valuable to them for their own use as well as for people they feel would be interested in working with me.

Lesson 2. LinkedIn is good for Google

Most prospective buyers including red hot referrals Google me before we meet to see how we can work together. My LinkedIn profile features in their searches. Being a regular contributor on LinkedIn therefore enhances my credibility and visibility.

I'm a member of Google+ because it's Google. I am a member of Twitter because 140 characters is a great way to learn to be succinct and a simple way to share. I like because I came across insights I wouldn't otherwise. I like YouTube because people being able to see me in person has proved to be invaluable in their buying decisions. I'm playing with Pinterest. My LinkedIn presence though showcases my work the best.

Lesson 3. LinkedIn Premium membership is good for getting to know prospective buyers

I pay LinkedIn the small monthly fee for Premium membership because I find I can quickly use the search function to find out what I need to know about organisations and prospective buyers before I meet them. This search facility is far more valuable to me than any Google search.

Lesson 4. Our mates can lead us to our market

Most of my LinkedIn connections are my mates, some in the true sense of the word, and others in the sense that they do similar work. LinkedIn profiles are a good way to differentiate ourselves as well as make it simple for our true mates to recommend us and share our insights.

Lesson 5. Seeing what other professionals are saying is great value for adding value as well as saying the same thing differently or more uniquely

It seems every person and their dog is now posting their thoughts on LinkedIn. I value this because I can take a yes and approach and add value to my mates as well as my fans. This also provides an opportunity to further stand out from the crowd.

What are your lessons from being on LinkedIn. Please share.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 15 September 2014

What is your Employee/Employer Value Promise?

PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey is a valuable read. For their survey PwC conducted 1,344 interviews with CEOs in 68 countries between September and December 2013. I took particular interest in the transforming talent strategy aspects of the survey. Check out the survey for yourself here. 

Staggering numbers from the survey
“Only 34% of CEOs feel that HR is well prepared for the challenges ahead.”
93% say they recognise the need to change their strategies for Talent. 61% haven’t yet taken the first step.”

What also got my attention
“... CEOs have rightly identified rebuilding trust as a priority. But in a world where everything is shared, this is far more difficult than it sounds. HR and CEOs need to refocus the ‘deal’ with employees and make sure that everything, from culture to reward, reinforces intent.”
PwC 17th Annual Global CEO Survey: Transforming talent strategy page 19

Earlier in the report (Page 12) ‘deal’ is expressed as “the employer value 
proposition (EVP) – the ‘deal’ between employer and employee which lays out what each can offer and expect in return.”

I prefer EEVP as in Employee/Employer Value Promise to EVP.
Employer Value Proposition suggests to me that the employer is more important and for me propositions are useless. Who cares what we propose. What we deliver is what really matters. What we want is promises to each other that we can actually keep. Keeping promises is a key trust builder. Broken promises are a trust breaker.

What is your Employee/Employer Value Promise i.e. the ‘deal’ you have with each other?

Fundamentally I believe EEVP is about value exchange, the satisfaction of relationships of high value and mutual reward, and the successful linking of feeling valued, delivering value, and living our values.

It all starts with the latter.

Key questions:

Do the majority of your employees feel valued?

How do you know?

Are your employees doing work that is meaningful to them?

The Ancient Greeks had four words for love. You no doubt know two - eros (romantic love) and agape (love in a spiritual sense). The third is storge, meaning natural affection like parents feel for their children.

The fourth, philia, is the one I find the most insightful. Philia is often translated as affectionate regard or friendship. We need more philia in our organisations.

Do the majority of your employees have affectionate regard for one another and your customers/clients?

Do all of your employees have clearly defined roles?

Is value delivery and who to integral to role clarity?

How is value delivery measured?

Are your values single words or sentences or are behaviours for each of your values defined, agreed to, and lived?

Were your employees involved in meaningful ways for them in the creation of your behaviours?

What are the consequences in your business when people fail to live your values?

How do you celebrate people feeling valued, delivering value, and the living of your values?

Truthful answers to the above questions mean you have a solid foundation on which to create your Employee/Employer Value Promise.

Vision, mission and values statements are relics of the past. The new world of work is about Employee/Employer Values Promises and keeping them.

For more about employees feeling valued, fulfilled and loved please send me an email requesting my white paper on the subject. Inside my paper is a diagnostic that will help you to determine what you need to do to increase the number of your employees who feel valued, fulfilled, and loved.

I work with business leaders in person to discover and deploy the difference in people that leads to gaining and maintaining the momentum essential to achieving remarkable results.

A key component of my work since 1991 is helping leaders to inextricably link employees feeling valued, fulfilled, and loved, with delivering value, and living values.

The outcomes of doing so will take your breath away.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 14 September 2014

“It’s not about proving anything, it’s about sharing something.”

This Sunday's sparkenation.

This is a great interview with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Enjoy and then contemplate on

“It’s not about proving anything, it’s about sharing something.”
Yo-Yo Ma

and What is your music between your notes?

You might also enjoy this short piece of music from Yo - Yo Ma that I often play when I need to restore harmony in my life. Some find it sad. I find it stirring.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 12 September 2014

The significance of small - the amazing B1G1 story

I'm proud to be a lifetime partner of B1G1 (Buy 1 Give 1). Since I joined this revolution in giving in April 2010 the number of giving impacts has grown from under a million to 50 million.

Most people's contribution like mine is small. The significance of small lies in the fact that when a lot of people do a little, anything can be changed for the better.

giving people in need nourishing meals.
providing life-giving water to people who don't have access.
getting medical supplies to people who can't afford them.

There is simply no limit to the impacts you could make.

You can join this great revolution by buying a signed copy of my Changing What's Normal book. Find out more here.

Or join the revolution yourself. You just have to link the sale of a product or service to a cause that matters to you and give a little bit from every transaction.

Thinking big is essential. Making big happen lies in the significance of small.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

What do your Mother and Your Grandmothers feel and think about your work?

I was blessed with a wonderful Mother and two Grandmothers. If any of them felt the need to speak to me about my behaviour I always listened because I knew they had my best interests at heart.

And they always listened to my crazy ideas and gave me considered guidance about what I might do next.

There are a few men (and boys) in our world today who could do with a serious chat with their Mothers and/or Grandmothers.

What do your Mother and Your Grandmothers feel and think about your work?

If they're like mine are no longer alive imagine what they would feel and think. What would they be saying to you?

Be the difference you want to see in the world. And do so in ways that do no harm others.

Monday 8 September 2014

Moving on the morons

There are 3 oxymorons we need to move on from to further give birth to the new world of work; strategic planning, change management, and performance management.

Strategy fails to get executed usually because the primary executors (your employees) haven't yet bought into the strategy or they yet don't own it.

1) Work with your employees to describe strategy in a sentence.

Strategy then becomes everyone's compass because that's what strategy is, a compass that tells us which way is north.

2) Help your employees to document their piece of the execution map on a page.

Make sure that part of their map is about achieving what's important to them as well as what's important for the business.

Your execution map is like a quilt. Everyone's piece is different. When everyone's piece is stitched together you have your execution plan. Not a strategic plan, an execution plan.

We all need a compass and a map to get to precisely where we want to go.

If you need help with these actions sing out. I am a pioneer in co-creating strategy in a sentence and execution plans on a page. I work every day to hone the tools with my clients.

Change management and performance management

About 20 years ago I declared people management dead. People can't be managed.

Change can't be managed either.

We need to lead people and change and manage our processes, procedures, policies, practices and systems, so that they mean it is simple for people to bring their best to their work.

1) Stop trying to manage people and change. Both are a futile exercise that only leads to pain and suffering let alone poor performance.

2) Throw out performance appraisals and anything that even smells like performance management.

3) Start having appreciation and accountability conversations with people about their one page piece of your execution map.

4) Agree on boundaries with people and then let them loose.

5) Link living values, delivering value, and people feeling valued. Remarkable results follow.

If you need help with any of the above sing out. I know what works and what doesn't. And rather than offer you solutions to your challenges, I have mastered ways to work with you so that you discover and determine your own solutions. You will savour your work more and your results will be better.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 7 September 2014

How to maintain your attitude of gratitude

This Sunday's sparkenation.

When suffering from a life-threatening illness 37 years ago my doctor advised me to have "an attitude of gratitude."

Every day since I have stood in front of the mirror and said out loud "I have an attitude of gratitude."
I say it out loud at least 3 times a day!

My stance helped me to not die from my illness. Every day it has helped me, even in my darkness moments, deep disappointments, and digression from my path, to live a life that matters to me and the people I encounter.

I have learned one of life's most valuable lessons - "when we're grateful for what we've got, we can have more of what we want."

Here's 12 ways to maintain your attitude of gratitude.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation."
-Roberto Benigni

More sparkenations here.

Friday 5 September 2014

Let your audience know that you know who they are before you share with them what you know

I have received a lot of emails lately that opened with a line like "I hope you have enjoyed your holidays." Well, I haven't been on holidays.

If you live in the Northern hemisphere and have subscribers in the Southern hemisphere while you were enjoying your summer holidays we have been in the dead of winter. Respect your audience.

An opening line that says "What's install for you this Fall?" has no relevance for those of your subscribers who don't describe a season as the Fall. Respect your audience.

If you publish a book on Kindle and all your examples are from North America you are alienating everybody else. Respect your audience.

If you're conducting a webinar in United Kingdom time, what time is that for me on the other side of the world? It's quite easy to make it simple for people to know what time it is for them. Respect your audience.

We need to think global yet act local.

It's great to share with our audiences what we know. Right now though so many people are sharing what they know it's overwhelming. And many people are opting out.

Stand out from the crowd by letting your audience know that you know who they are before you share with them what you know.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Can you please answer the question?

Most politicians have mastered the art (unfortunately) of saying a lot yet really not saying anything.

I notice that clearly frustrated journalists are more and more asking "Can you please give me a yes or no answer?" Still the politicians duck and weave and can't even say yes or no.

A good rule of thumb for real leaders is to do what politicians don't do.

Be open, transparent, authentic, candid. Your people will love you for it. Higher levels of engagement will be the result.

And when you don't know, say so. When leaders say "I don't know. What do you feel/think? relationships become more open and honest and of greater value and mutual reward.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 1 September 2014

7 key leadership learnings to help you to THRIVE on the challenges of change

I have been experimenting with my monthly offerings to subscribers of my Changing What's Normal strategies and tactics newsletter. As well as in-depth articles I'm providing papers, video interviews, teaching videos, and slide packs.

If you'd like the digital copy of my Changing What's Normal book sign-up for the newsletter here.

Last month I offered my subscribers (as well as subscribers to and readers of this blog) my white paper '8 ways to move from resilience to remarkable.' 

It turned out to be the most downloaded of anything I have offered. If you'd like a copy of the paper please email

This month I am providing a slide pack. 

You can download it here or watch on slideshare below.

My reasons for giving more to my newsletter and blog subscribers are three-fold:
1) I want to stand out from other newsletter providers and bloggers on the subjects of change and innovation (changing what's normal when same no longer serves).
2) I believe in giving value in advance.
3) I believe that the greater the value I give the more likelihood that there will be full take-up of the limited number of special offers I make for Associate and Full Membership of my Maverick Thinkers Studio. 

I make such offers about 4 times a year which also means I stand out from the many who seem to be making special offers every other day.

This blog is such an offer. I have vacancies for 9 Associate members ($165) and 4 Full Online members of Maverick Thinkers Studio ($1997 or 4 payments of $550 paid in advance). These offers expire at 5 pm AEST Wednesday 3rd September 2014. First in best dressed here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.