Sunday 30 November 2014

Why candid conversations and eye contact matter more than ever

This Sunday's sparkenation.

I love social media for all sorts of reasons.

I love having candid conversations and making eye contact with people in person a whole lot more.

Next time you post, tweet, like, share, or whatever keep it in perspective. Nothing matters more than having candid conversations and making eye contact with another human being.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

My thanks to Mari Smith for the picture below which I took a screenshot of during her wonderful presentation for the Global Impact Summit. And I hope Sir Richard, one of my heroes, doesn't mind.

PS Every day from tomorrow until December 7th I am conducting group tours of my Maverick Thinkers Studio. Find out more here.

Friday 28 November 2014

Why we all need OPEEE

One of the great truths of the success journey is that we all need OPEEE; other people's experience, energy, and enthusiasm. There's no Winston without Clementine, no Steve Jobs without Steve Wozniak, no Beatles without Brian Epstein or George Martin.

Who's experience, energy, and enthusiasm is irreplaceable in your life?

Please find a unique way to express your gratitude to these people today.

To whom is your experience, energy, and enthusiasm irreplaceable?

Please find unique ways to add even more value to these people next time you meet with them. As Roger James Hamilton said on the Global Impact Summit yesterday "Giving is the game."

3 key reasons why we all need other people's experience, energy, and enthusiasm

1) We all get stuck in our lives, stop listening to the wisdom within, and therefore we stop doing what we know we should do. We need other people to help us to be accountable.

2) We don't know what we don't know. Other people help us by being a mirror, by asking us great questions, and just by being there with us as we discover what we don't know that we must do.

3) We all tell ourselves BS. We need others to be candid with us and call us out when we, even momentarily, have stopped being the best one-of-a-kind person that we can be.

Be remarkable.

PS The above statement expresses a key part of No BS mentoring for me. Maybe I can be such a friend for you. Find out more here.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

3 key reasons why being candid is the keystone to sustaining your remarkability

In my presentation/conversation for the Global Impact Summit last Monday I shared my thoughts on why I believe remarkable is the new normal, great is no longer good enough, and ordinary is your enemy.

Get the full context of what I mean by watching the recording of my session.

You'll be asked to register at the link and make your own impact. You'll have access then to all 30 of the summit sessions, a smorgasbord of maverick thinking.

I also shared at the summit why I believe that to go from where we are to where we want to be is best accomplished in a series of quantum leaps

Change champions are experts at taking quantum leaps.

The first reason being candid is the keystone to sustaining your remarkability is that it's very easy to be delusional about where you are (here). Being frank, open, and honest (candid) about where you are means your next leap can have real substance.

The second reason being candid is the keystone to sustaining your remarkability is because calling a spade a spade and being straightforward with yourself gives you real clarity. Being clear gives you certainty as you take your next leap.

The third reason being candid is the keystone to sustaining your remarkability is that your candour will attract other people to you who will be key to your future success. More about this in my next post. We're sick of spin. Other people will find your candidness a breath of fresh air and will therefore be drawn to you.

Be remarkable.

PS For more of my thoughts on your remarkability go here.

Monday 24 November 2014

Sunday 23 November 2014

3 barriers you may need to eliminate so that you can do what you love

This Sunday's sparkenation.

I recommend related pre-reading to this post:

Doing what you love in the service of people who love what you do.

I observe 3 common interconnected barriers that are in the way of leadership effectiveness and that are often stopping leaders from doing what they love in the service of people who love what they do:

Being time poor
Decision-making chaos and in-decision

1) A lingering part of the hangover from the industrial revolution and associated management that tried to make human beings act like cogs in a machine, is the fact the we continue to have unrealistic expectations of what people can and can't achieve. One consequence is that most people are time poor.

I don't believe in time-management. I do believe in investing wisely in the 168 hours each of us has every week. Could you be a better investor in your time? Is at least 20% of your diary for this week empty meaning you are allowing for the unexpected? Do your people have the same flexibility?

2) Micro-management is often a key factor in being time poor. Help your people to clarify their roles, agree on rules of engagement including boundaries, have your employees create a 90 day personal and business performance plan that you can focus your conversations with them on. Otherwise get out of the way. Redefine your own role so that you're doing what you love in the service of people who love what you do.

3) Is there a clear process for making the big decisions in your workplace? Is it transparent and is everyone affected by decisions involved in the process?

Are people on your frontline truly able to make every day decisions without reference to anyone else?

If you answered no to either of the above questions you've got work to do.

Be remarkable.

PS I believe that remarkable is the new normal. Great is no longer good enough. Ordinary is your enemy. Eliminating barriers such as the 3 above are paramount to being remarkable.

To be remarkable in your businesses starts with your self-leadership and then leading by example. In order for other people to be remarkable, by definition consistently bringing their best to their work, some rules will need to be broken, boundaries redefined, and barriers eliminated. I work with leaders to achieve these ends.

I then provide No BS Mentoring on demand, and 24/7 access to resources that work when you use them in your own way. You'll be able to guarantee you succeed in the change/s you lead as a consequence.

I will be conducting group tours to show you what’s inside my studio every day 1st - 7th December, so that you can get a feel for the precious resources for humans inside. Find out more and how to join a tour here.

Friday 21 November 2014

Are there boundaries you may need to redefine in order to do more of what you love?

The concept of life/work balance has always troubled me. I think it's BS.

In Sparkenation 26 in my Changing What's Normal book I write "... The word balance for me implies equal. My personal and business life are not equal and are never likely to be, and neither are yours."

"...our personal and business lives can be in harmony with one another. That is, they can work together as a part of a symphony of the whole of our lives."

A small yet significant part of the way that I maintain my life/work harmony is to clearly define boundaries for others.

A simple example of this is emails. I tell my clients that I only answer emails first thing in the morning and towards to the end of the business day. I only answer emails outside these times when it suits me. I have set a boundary, nobody minds, and my service to my clients remains exemplary.

What boundaries could you redefine in your life and work in order to do more of what you love in the service of people who love what you do?

Be remarkable.

PS A lot of my No BS Mentoring work with my clients is about agreeing on boundaries and letting people loose within them. I provide tools, techniques, templates, and tips for this inside Maverick Thinkers Studio.

I will be conducting group tours to show you what’s inside my studio every day 1st - 7th December. Find out more and how to join a tour here.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

A rule you may need to break to do more of what you love

As I explore in this blog post the change journey to doing what we love in the service of people who love what we do, begins with what we can and will do, and then doing what we aren’t doing that we know we should be.

In most organisations the rule is do more with less. Good questions to ask about all rules are: Who made this rule? What was the context of making it? Is the context relevant to my/our situation right now? Is there a more remarkable way forward?

Doing more with less is often a good rule. It depends on the context and desired outcomes. To make doing more with less a rule for everything is unwise.

When it comes to your leadership and management what if a more remarkable rule is to do less with more?

As I work with my clients to do what they know they should do that they are not, matters of effectiveness (leadership) and efficiency (management) always arise.

Often my clients realise that how something used to be done is no longer the most effective and/or efficient way to do it. My clients end up staying doing some things, stop doing others, and start doing some things in new ways.

In your leadership and management where could you do less with more?

Be remarkable.

PS Some of the resources for humans that I provide for my clients in my online studio are very helpful for doing less with more.

I will be conducting group tours to show you what’s inside my studio every day 1st - 7th December. Find out more and how to join a tour here.

Monday 17 November 2014

Doing what you love in the service of people who love what you do

From the moment I read “do what you love in the service of people who love what you do“ in Steven Farber’s great book 'The Radical Leap' eight years ago I knew I had found not only a beautiful way to describe the outcomes of my work for my clients, I had also found an anchor to keep me focused on what really matters to me and to the people to whom I provide my professional services.

We’ve all encountered the rubbish around doing what we love and the money flows. Doing what we love in the service of people who love what we do means the money really does flow.

It's never about the money though.

I used to say that profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business.

I have changed my mind about the being good at business piece. Today we need to be remarkable, particularly in how we deliver value to those who love our work, value that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve.

Remarkable is the new normal. Great is no longer good enough. Being ordinary is your enemy.

In 2006, blessed by Steven Farber’s great insight, I developed the process below to capture what I knew from real world work was true, yet hadn’t been able to articulate it.

In my No BS mentoring work with over a 1000 business leaders in more than 40 countries since 1991 the change journey is always the same in terms of outcomes; people do what they know they should that they’re currently not doing, and then at some point a surprise arrives, people discover what they didn’t know before that they must do. Always this profound turning point leads to people doing what they love in the service of people who love what they do.

I honour you should you be you be doing what you love in the service of people who love what you do and are doing so in remarkable ways. If you’re not yet in this space what an opportunity you have at your doorstep!

Be remarkable.

PS From 12.01 am AEDST on 1st December until midnight on December 7th 2014 you can take up two months individual membership of my Maverick Thinkers Studio for 1 months investment.

I will be conducting group tours for the 1 in 100 to show you what’s inside my studio every day 1st - 7th December. Find out more about my studio and how to join a tour here.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Are you the 1 in 100?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

"Yesterday I was clever
So I wanted to change the world.

Today I am wise
So I am changing myself."

The 99 when they talk about change, what they really mean is everyone else changing and not them.

Are you the 1 in 100?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 14 November 2014

We need governments. We don't need political parties and politicians as they are!

We need governments. Without them health care, safety and security, justice, education, aged care, infrastructure, etc., etc., wouldn't be possible.

We don't need political parties and politicians as they are. There are some great lessons here for your business.

You need governance in your business otherwise chaos would rule. Keep compliance in perspective and make sure it's not killing creativity.

You need to ensure that your policies, procedures, practices, processes, and systems are good for people and that they mean it is simple for people to bring their best to their work. This is the stuff of management; efficiency and doing things right. Management is useless without leadership. Leadership is about people, and effectiveness, and doing the right thing.

You need to debate ideology occasionally yet never at the expense of progress. What you should be debating all the time is ideas and how they will be successfully implemented (innovation) in ways that solve the human problems that are the purpose of your business. Fulfilling your purpose is the reason you get paid. How well you get paid depends on the value you are delivering as perceived by your buyers.

Factions will lead to failure in your business as they do in politics. The tail can never wag the dog in your business. Minorities matter however if the power is in the hands of a few, self-interest rules and the many eventually revolt, it's only a matter of time.

We embrace leaders who are candid, honest, and who can inspire us with authentic stories of what our future can become. We shun leaders who prefer spin to straight answers and are into sound bites rather than authentic and inspiring stories.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

I loved Lucy. The trouble was her bosses didn't!

Every time I visited a particular office of my client I was always impressed with Lucy (name changed to protect the innocent). Lucy consistently brought her best to her work. And everyone I asked agreed, including customers. Except her bosses it turns out.

Imagine my shock when I learned Lucy had been made redundant. Head Office is into 'headcount' as they call it, and Lucy was an 'unfortunate victim' they told me.

I had a flashback at this point to 25 years ago when my bosses in another country told me I had to reduce my 235.5 headcount. Now I have never met half a human being. You?

All this is another example of lack of common sense, a failure to be human in the workplace, and making decisions based on silly numbers.

Nobody has ever slashed and burned their way to prosperity as far as I know.

To make matters worse a HR person who had never met Lucy was dispatched by Head Office to give her the bad news. HR was seen as the enemy before this, so imagine how they're perceived now.

Other members of Lucy's team would have reduced their working hours in order to keep Lucy on the team. Nobody consulted anyone in this office. They made a decision based on some number a person far removed from reality worked out.

Morale and employee engagement at the office I refer to above are lower than a lizard. Results have never been as bad, all because somebody in ignorance made a decision based on lines in a profit and loss statement.

Letting go people for whatever reason is hard. You may have to do so sometime. I hope never in the way described above.

Focus on co-creating a culture where people can bring their best to their work. Put people first. Treat every person as the one-of-a-kind that each of us is. More than likely your results will be what you want and you'll never have to even consider making a decision about a person based on an arbitrary number.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

PS Lucy has a new role, in an organisation just down the road from where she was. She's being appreciated there for who she is and is getting paid more for the great value she delivers than she was before.

At Lucy's new workplace they're growing their business quite rapidly and are looking for more people. It would be interesting to listen in on the lunch time conversations Lucy is having with her workmates from her previous employer.

PSS There's lots of interesting conversations going on at the Head Office of my client too. The good news is that at this point I reckon they have learned a hard lesson and won't make the dumb decision they made about Lucy and people like her ever again.

Monday 10 November 2014

What are the human problems your business solves?

There are 7 keys to thriving on the challenges of change in your life and work. One I call differencemaking - the human problem/s your business solves.

I love the insights in this recent McKinsey article ‘Redefining capitalism’ that is in part about this. In the article the authors state “Every business is based on an idea about how to solve a problem. The process of converting great ideas into products and services that effectively fulfill fast-changing human needs is what defines most businesses. Thus, the crucial contribution business makes to society is transforming ideas into products and services that solve problems.”

What are the human problems your business solves?

Differencemaking is the purpose (the why, the intent, the reason) for our businesses. Fulfilling our purpose is all about our performance in the areas pictured below.

The above diagnostic is part of a paper I have produced about these 7 areas called The Delightful Design of a Distinguished 21st century business.

To download my paper please go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page. When you complete, scan, and email the diagnostic to me I’ll provide you with complimentary high value briefing.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 9 November 2014

What are you creating that will live forever?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

What are you creating that will live forever?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

PS The Global Impact Summit begins tomorrow. Already more than 200,000 impacts.

Friday 7 November 2014

Stress usually means there's an absence of feeling significant

"I feel insignificant" one female member of an otherwise male executive team I interviewed told me. "I'm stressed because I am working really hard and other members of the team don't seem to notice."

Workplace stress leads to less productive employees say Towers Watson in their latest Global Benefits Attitudes survey. They also state "The research shows that of those employees who claimed to be experiencing high stress levels, over half (57%) also reported that they were disengaged. In contrast, only one in ten (10%) employees claiming low stress levels said they were disengaged and half of this group claimed to be highly engaged."

A key role of real leadership is to notice and acknowledge.

When I questioned other members of the team mentioned above the common feeling was "why should we go out of our way to acknowledge people just doing their job."

I explored with this team the distinct correlation between people feeling insignificant i.e. undervalued, unloved, and unfulfilled, and less than desired performance. This is not rocket science. It is yet another example of a failure to be human in the workplace.

If you'd like my special report 'Key discoveries I have made about people and talent enhancement' which is about why helping employees to feel valued, fulfilled and loved, is the simple yet profound path to high levels of engagement and productivity, please send me a email requesting it

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

The rehumanisation of the workplace is the great quest and calling for the modern leader

Traditional management was invented more than 100 years ago to try and make human beings more like machines. The dehumanisation of the workplace that followed still leads to catastrophic consequences for millions of people and society in general.

The rehumanisation of the workplace is the great quest and calling for the modern leader.

How simple is it for people to be fully alive at your workplace and to consistently bring their best to their work?

Your answer to this question will tell you how much BS about people that you still need to remove in order for your business to fully prosper.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday 3 November 2014

Ensuring the great management myths and morons aren’t messing with your mind

I have been in a few workplaces this year where I have witnessed 20th century and even earlier management practices. 

In one where I was asked to do a review of their remarkability, which involves finding out the unbiased answers to these 96 questions, the CEO asked me for a one sentence summary of my findings. I replied “A lot of the great management myths and morons are messing with a lot of people’s minds.” An interesting conversation followed to say the least. 

The main myths we discussed were; people can be managed, there’s a need for a war on talent, people are resources, assets or capital. And the main oxymorons; change management, strategic planning, and performance management.

Below are my key thoughts on each one and links to more detail for you to explore and take action.

“People can be managed.” 
They can’t. We lead for people. We manage processes, policies, procedures, practices, processes and systems (PPPPS’s).

Explore more Management is dead

“There is a need for a war on talent.” 
There isn’t. Many organisations are focused on so-called top talent when the greatest opportunity is in the middle where people are neither engaged or disengaged, yet open to persuasion.

“People are resources, assets or capital.” 

“Change Management, Strategic Planning, and Performance Management”

Change like people can’t be managed. We lead change and manage the things around it.

A key to doing this successfully is simplification of strategy and focusing on execution.

Your strategy and your execution plan are completely different. See them together at your peril. Strategy in simple terms is how you’re going to get where you’re going. It’s a reference point for all decisions you make. If you can’t describe your strategy in a sentence it is very difficult to gain employee buy-in. 

Strategy is like a compass. Execution is a map. Every employee needs their unique piece of your execution map otherwise the chances of your strategy getting executed are zilch.

When each employee has their piece of the map and candid conversations integral to daily work are held around their piece of the map, you can throw out performance reviews and all the crap associated with performance management.

Explore more Moving on the morons

Some great insights (despite the title!) in the Strategy+business article 10 Principles of Leading Change Management. 

My new personal and business development program - 7 ways to thrive on the challenges of change

Over the past few months, and with the involvement of a few clients to ensure it’s tried, tested, and proven, I have developed a program that puts these myths and morons in their place, consigned to history.

The program is short and sharp and designed with time poor leaders in mind. It explores what I believe are the 7 keys to a thriving 21st century business:

Disrupting ourselves.
Differentiation: what our people do that others do, just better, differently or more uniquely.
Discovery: ensuring our people know their gifts/talents and how we are helping them to enhance them.
Drive: helping our people achieve what is important to them and meeting their intrinsic motivators.
Delivery: how we create, capture and deliver value to our stakeholders that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve.
Distinction: the ways the experience of our customers/clients online and in-person makes us stand out from the rest.
Differencemaking: the human problems our business solves and/or impacts.

The program is available as a tailored for you in-house program or through my peer group initiative Maverick Thinkers Farm which can be undertaken online or in person. 

Although this program is short in duration, long term results are firmly in mind. To ensure you gain in the long term 1 years membership of Maverick Thinkers Studio, including a license to use my flagship The Enhancing Their Gifts System, is included in the package.

At both the above links there is a simple diagnostic you can complete to see how your traveling in these 7 areas of a distinguished 21st century business. The diagnostic is inside a special paper I wrote about these 7 keys to thriving on the challenges of change.

Very special offer

Complete, scan and email the diagnostic to me and I will give you a complimentary 1 hour high value briefing on what you can do to be remarkable in the 7 areas.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Sunday 2 November 2014

What stories have you shared lately?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

There's a lot of talk on social media that content is king and a whole content marketing industry has emerged.

The key in my view is not so much about content, rather it's all about stories and story sharing.

What's your story?
What stories have you shared lately?
Who is sharing your story?

“We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”
Philip Pullman

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.