Friday 30 January 2015

Obama's rhetoric - what's in it for you?

The following is from President Obama's State of the Union address. For me it has many take aways for business leaders (see questions below)

"... Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.

Understand — a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.

A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears.

A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.

A better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up, with a sense of purpose and possibility, and asking them to join in the great mission of building America.

If we’re going to have arguments, let’s have arguments — but let’s make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country."

Key questions to ask

What tired, old patterns are you exhibiting as a leader?

What ways of being and doing could be better in your business?

Is your way the only way or are you constantly seeking to find and execute a way forward together?

Is decency or fear driving you?

Are you debating ideas without demonising the idea or the person/people presenting them?

Do your words and your actions lift people up?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Why my embracing “Flipping the Classroom” has awesome value for You

This January 18th 2015 article about “Flipping the Classroom” in which Gihan Perera kindly mentions my pioneering work in online learning, confirmed a decision I had made a few days earlier to give the right people complimentary access to my trademark, highest value work.

The backstory to my decision is below. To jump straight to what my decision can mean for you and to take the action I suggest at the end of this post go here.


Every 90 days I conduct a review of my life and work. I ask two questions; What's worth celebrating? What can be better?

I ask my clients, mentors, and some members of my family to answer these questions about my business and myself too.

I then update my PPP (performance possibility plan) for the next quarter.

In December each year I conduct a bigger review where I reflect on the whole year. Then, when I have updated my PPP, I go and see at least two of my mentors for a No BS session.

On the 14th January I had the second of these sessions. In 90 minutes my mentor gave me some feedback I didn't want to hear yet I'm glad I did. (You might be too) He's my kind of mentor this guy and the mentor I seek to be for my clients.

Seth Godin provides the best description of this kind of mentor that I have come across. He says

Good advice is priceless. Not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. Not imaginary, but practical. Not based on fear, but on possibility. Not designed to make you feel better, designed to make you better. Seek it out and embrace the true friends that care enough to risk sharing it. I’m not sure what takes more guts—giving it or getting it.

In his feedforward to me my mentor suggested that in order to achieve one of my goals, that of increasing the number of mentoring clients I want, I need to give people the gift of what I do and that it needs to be a gift, that is something I give for free without expectations of getting anything back. The paradox of this my mentor said is that I will end up with the number of clients I want.

My decision and the awesome value for you

As a consequence of the above I made the decision to give you six months membership of Maverick Thinkers Studio for free, including your ability to participate in the group No BS mentoring sessions that I conduct online every first and third Monday (except in January).

Take up this offer here.

Disclaimer: If the turnover of your business is less than 1 million and you have less than 10 employees this offer is not for you.

The subject matter for the first few Monday mentoring sessions this year are about my 45 really useful tools, tips, techniques for recruiting, engaging and retaining great people. It's an ebook you'll be able to download once your inside Maverick Thinkers Studio. I call these the Fabulous forty-five and we'll be exploring a few that are key to ensuring this year gets off to the best possible start for you.

Once you're a member of Maverick Thinkers Studio you'll receive an email twice a month from me that will let you know of updates to resources and the subject matter for upcoming group No BS Mentoring sessions.

If this is for you please join here.

You'll either prove or disprove my experiment. Thank You in advance!

Be remarkable

Monday 26 January 2015

Closing our capability gaps

I received an email recently from the Australian Institute of Management where I am a Fellow that had the following opening paragraph.

Did you know that statistics from our Australian Management Capability Index (AMCI, 2014) show that most CEOs and senior managers believe that their organisations are operating at less than three-quarters of their potential? We think you'll agree that this is an alarming statistic considering that management capability is a leading indicator of organisational success.

I was alarmed yet not surprised.

Another way of looking at this is to say Most organisations can improve by 25%. Imagine that!

How much room for improvement is there at your workplace?

When I help to assess capability gaps with my clients broadly speaking I begin by looking at competency (ability) and commitment (willingness). As Blanchard and Hersey suggested many years ago people fall into 4 broad categories. Of course because most people play many roles, their capability can be represented in all 4 areas at the same time!

The number one role of leadership in my view is to be a Maestro of gift (talent) enhancement. This is all about working with people to help them to discover their unique gifts and enhance them so that they can move from where they are to where they can be (willing and able) in every role they play. Then high performance is possible. This is all about moving beyond can and will to loving what they do, and doing what they love in the service of people who love what they do.

Below is a snapshot of the journey that I go on with people.

In high performance cultures can and will do are just the beginning. High performance happens above the horizontal line.

Imagine what even a small increase in the number of your people consistently bringing their best to their work would mean for your business results, let alone your peace of mind.

What will you do next for yourself in order to close your capability gaps?

What will you do next for others that will help them to close their capability gaps?

Be remarkable.

Sunday 25 January 2015

My 1000th blog post. So what?

This Sunday's sparkenation is my 1000th blog post. So what? Good question.

I began blogging in May 2007 because a colleague I respect said I should.

I've been in the habit of writing 500 words every day for more than half of my 61 years. Not much of it goes public. I find writing hard and joyful at the same time.

For me writing is therapeutic. It goes a long way to healing and overcoming my dis-ease with life.

Writing helps me greatly to find clarity which precedes moving from what is to what can be with purpose in all aspects of my life.

Blogging led me to writing the book I always wanted to write Changing What's Normal.

For You I share some of what I write for 3 key reasons

1) My desire is to start a candid conversation with you. I believe being candid is the secret sauce in the unique recipe we'll create together to reach or reclaim, and sustain your remarkability. There's nothing more important in life than this.

We all need inspiring, reminding, and sometimes persuading to be candid with ourselves. The more candid we are the greater our self-awareness, the number one leadership skill. The greater our self-awareness the more we become aware of others, the second most important leadership skill.

2) I want to give you value in advance of a highly valuable and mutually rewarding working relationship.

3) Sharing my feelings and thoughts online is one small yet significant way that I can make a meaningful contribution to the new world of work I believe such a new world is critical to the future prosperity and peace of our wider world.

If you're here for the first time Welcome. If you've dipped in occasionally my thanks.

If you been with me for all or part of the almost 8 year journey, my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to You.

What will be new in the future?

I'll be sharing more videos, both of the teaching kind and having candid conversations with leading experts.

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

HT to Seth Godin who blogs every day and has been doing so for years. He has been and is a great inspiration to me.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 23 January 2015

Wednesday 21 January 2015

If not for you

I love the words and music of Bob Dylan. Here's one of my favourites

"If not for you
Babe, I couldn’t find the door
Couldn’t even see the floor
I’d be sad and blue
If not for you

If not for you
Babe, I’d lay awake all night
Wait for the mornin’ light
To shine in through
But it would not be new
If not for you

If not for you
My sky would fall
Rain would gather too
Without your love I’d be nowhere at all
I’d be lost if not for you
And you know it’s true

If not for you
My sky would fall
Rain would gather too
Without your love I’d be nowhere at all
Oh! what would I do
If not for you

If not for you
Winter would have no spring
Couldn’t hear the robin sing
I just wouldn’t have a clue
Anyway it wouldn’t ring true
If not for you"

Thank the people who are there for you today.

Wherever possible do this in person. You may use technology providing you can look the person in the eye.

Check out this 5 minute video by Gary Turk first. Whether you like the video or not is irrelevant, it has a message we all need to heed.

Be remarkable.

Monday 19 January 2015

What Lady Gaga and wearing a name tag 24/7 can teach you about your business

One of my favourite quotes from Lady Gaga is "You laugh at me because I'm different. Well, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

Sameness is one of three great threats to the success of your business this year. The other two are not seeing and treating people as the one-of-a-kind that each of us is.

A great place to start being different is to answer the following question with immediate and ongoing action - Do our policies, procedures, practices, processes, and systems (PPPPSs) mean it is simple for people to consistently bring their unique best to their work?

PPPPSs are about management which in my view is the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Management without leadership is like a car without an engine. Leadership in my view is the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that one-of-a-kind that each of us is) to everything they do.

Do you see everyone person you work with as the one-of-a-kind that each of us is?

Differentiation in business is firstly about celebrating the fact that we're all different and then finding ways where that difference is brought to work. It's then about doing what others don't, or doing what others do, just doing it better, differently, or more uniquely. Leadership is key to differentiation because the number one role of leadership is about helping people to identify and enhance their gifts (talents).

Differentiation on it's own won't be enough to take your business from what is to what can be. You will need to be remarkable in six other areas too

I'm exploring these 7 in my new webinar series Remarkable is the new normal. Find out more and register here.

Be remarkable.

PS My favourite video on differentiation

Maverick Thinkers Studio

Sunday 18 January 2015

What's written on your heart?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

The following came across my desk this week

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We each know how good we have become, but none of us knows how good we can be. One of the most exciting opportunities we get each day is to pursue our potential."
Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE

Write this on your heart - I'm the only one of me who ever lived. Today I am pursuing my potential.

Be remarkable.

"To be who we are, and to become all that we are capable of becoming, is the only purpose in life."
Robert Louis Stevenson

More sparkenations here.

Friday 16 January 2015

The magnificent moves we're making

This post inspired by the people of Paris and Sydney.

Millions of the world's citizens are making moves. They're all moves from what is to what can be.

Are you on the move?

Moving from a focus on results to a focus on reasons

Moving from dollars to sense

Moving from investment to legacy

Moving from more for the rich and less for the poor to less for the rich and more for the poor

Moving from balance sheet to life-work harmony

Moving from cure/fix to prevention

Moving from education to life-long learning

Moving from handouts to helping hands

Moving from style to substance and significance

Moving from information to insight to idea to inspiration to innovation

Moving from denial to decision

Moving from blame and shame to taking personal responsibility

Moving from partisan politics to bipartisan politics

Moving from debating ideology to debating ideas

Moving from being clever to being wise

Moving from I to We

Moving from greed to the greater good

Moving from domination to true democracy

Moving from linked to loved

Moving from power to purpose

Moving from shareholder value to stakeholder value

Moving from control to empowerment

Moving from hierarchies to holacracies, networks, alliances, living organisms and systems

Moving from employment to engagement

Moving from jobs to roles

Moving from consumption to contribution

Moving from fundamentalism to freedom

Moving from my way is the only way to let's find a way together

Moving from prejudice to valuing difference

Moving from searching for a road to peace to peace being the road

Moving from patriarchy to civility and equity of opportunity

Moving from self-interest to enlightened self-interest

Moving from spin and soundbites to stories of significance

Moving from marketing to meaning

Moving from it's all about economics to it's all about society

Moving from dreams to deadlines we meet

Moving from talk to action

Moving from competition to collaboration

Moving from sucking the life out of our planet to sustainability

Moving from big data to the significance of small

Moving from resilience to remarkable

Your move.

The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. 

- James Allen

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

What a great place to work should look like

This article by Tony Schwartz contains a lot of common sense.

Sadly common sense is the uncommon action.

What could you today that will take your workplace a step closer to being a great place to work? Decide. Do it.

Be remarkable.

Monday 12 January 2015

Empower yourself. What/who are you waiting for?

One of the great obstacles to ensuring this year is your best year yet is waiting.

What/who are you waiting for?

Already this year I've encountered people waiting for the perfect scenario before they take action.

"Empower yourself. The world around you is rich with opportunity and splendor. You can consume, so long as you also contribute. But doing either one without the other is foolish, and deprives you of power."
Alan Weiss

What will you contribute today that will move you closer to what can be in your life? Don't wait. Decide. Take action.

The opposite of empowerment is control. There is much in life we can't control. There are people and situations trying to control us. Control the controllables. Let go of your attachment to what others are doing or not doing. Empower yourself.

What/who are you waiting for?

Be remarkable.

There's 5 ways I can help you. With two you decide your investment. Here's how.

Sunday 11 January 2015

The humanity with which we do business determines the magnitude of our success

This Sunday's sparkenation.

"In a world where information is freely available, when domain knowledge becomes less scarce and the cost of doing business with anyone, anywhere becomes cheaper and cheaper, all of the value we provide will be in the humanity with which we do business."
Bernadette Jiwa

Read full post by Bernadette here.

I believe we get paid for the value we deliver, value as perceived by the receiver.

The fascinating and truly great fact is that our value lies in our realising we are all one-of-a-kind human beings (1 in 100 billion people who have walked planet earth) and bringing that remarkability to our work.

Be remarkable. Everything you have to give and receive in life follows.

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

More sparkenations here.

Friday 9 January 2015

Can you describe your strategy in a sentence and your tactics on a page?

The most successful business leaders I know can describe their strategy in a sentence and their tactics on a page (often on the back of a napkin or coaster).

Can you?

Here's my strategy in a sentence and tactics on a page to give you an example.

The best leaders have such powerful, high-value, and mutually rewarding relationships with their employees that each employee has their piece of the execution map on their own individual page.

More on simplifying strategy and ensuring execution here.

Your strategy and your execution plan form part of jigsaw. When every piece is locked in your success is a given. I call this shared view

Have candid conversations every day with your people to ensure shared-view. I promise you personal and business success this year as a consequence.

Be remarkable.

I may be able to help you. Please give me a call.

"You have to do it yourself, but no one can do it alone."

Wednesday 7 January 2015

High tech is of little value without high touch

Anyone who has thought about the future knows about John Naisbitt, his creation of the concept of Megatrends, and his book about one of them - High Tech High Touch, a book which offers perspectives and insights on the interplay between technology and people.

No doubt you have recently received a Christmas or New Year message from a total stranger who happens to be a so-called connection via social media. What we're these people thinking? High tech, no touch.

Technology is an ever increasing number of tools to assist you to live your best life and to do your best work in the service of others. That's it.

The real game being played is human to human. Are you and everyone that you're really connected with winning?

Be remarkable.

Being magnificently human lies at the heart of my new webinar series Remarkable is the new normal. I'll be online 4.10 – 4.50 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time February 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd, and March 2nd, 9th, and 16th 2015. Complimentary to Maverick Thinkers Studio members or you can buy your ticket here.

Our theme at Maverick Thinkers Studio for 2015 is Reclaiming | Regaining | Sustaining our remarkability, because being remarkable is the new normal.

Monday 5 January 2015

Continuous, Conscious, Candid Conversations are the key to your success in 2015

For many years now I have used Skype as a vehicle to have continuous, conscious, and candid conversations with my clients. It means I can work with people regardless of where we happen to be in the world.

Recently I have begun using Zoom as a vehicle for 1:1s and group conversations. It's the best technology I have come across and is the next best thing to actually being in the room together.

I had stopped doing webinars because I didn't like doing them without being able to see people and engage in real conversation. Zoom makes this possible and is better in my view than Google+ hangouts.

I'll be using Zoom for my new webinar series Remarkable is the new normal. There's just 20 places in the room. You can get your ticket here. And if you just want the recordings and the workbook that's fine too, just buy your ticket and let me know that you just want the recordings and the workbook.

My conversation with Paul Dunn for the Global Impact Summit sets the scene for this webinar series. If you missed this you can watch the recording and get access to the other 29 great sessions here. All you have to do is make your own impact.

In all of my work I embrace the 4 key principles of Appreciative Inquiry as articulated by creators David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva.

Appreciate “what is” (what gives life?)

Imagine “what might be”

Determine “what should be”

Create “what will be”

In the new world of work remarkable leaders are the people having continuous, conscious, candid conversations about these things.

A key to such leadership is asking great questions.

Before articulating his famous theory of relativity Albert Einstein asked “What would the universe look like if I were riding on the end of a light beam at the speed of light?”

The latest book I have added to my recommended reading list is Turning to One Another - simple conversations to restore hope for the future by Margaret Wheatley which provides 12 great conversation starters:

1) Do I feel a vocation to be fully human?
2) What is my faith in the future?
3) What do I believe about others?
4) What am I willing to notice in my world?
5) When have I experienced good listening?
6) Am I willing to reclaim time to think?
7) What is the relationship I want with the earth?
8) What is my unique contribution to the whole?
9) When have I experienced working for the common good?
10) When do I experience sacred?
11) What is our role in creating change?
12)  Can I be fearless?

If 2015 is to be your best year yet the questions you ask yourself and other people, and the continuous, conscious and candid conversations you engage in, will be key.

I wish you well.

Maybe I can be your performance partner.

Be remarkable.

Continuous, conscious, candid conversations about being remarkable in 7 areas (see webinar below) and becoming what we talk about are a key reason we exist at Maverick Thinkers Studio. We meet online every first and third Monday (except in January) Join us here.

The 7 areas are the subject matter for my new webinar series mentioned at the beginning of this post. I'll be online 4.10 – 4.50 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time February 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd, and March 2nd, 9th, and 16th 2015. Complimentary to Maverick Thinkers Studio members or you can buy your ticket here.

Our theme at Maverick Thinkers Studio for 2015 is Reclaiming | Regaining | Sustaining our remarkability, because being remarkable is the new normal.

Sunday 4 January 2015

It's who we are and what we do that really matters

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Resolutions, goals, dreams, plans mean little. It's who we are and what we do that really matters.

Be remarkable.

“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”
― Yogi Berra

More sparkenations here where you can also download all 52 of 2014's sparkenations in the one ebook.

The ebook Expect More From 2015 contains ideas from 24 experts. Please download the full ebook with my compliments here.

My contribution offers you a complimentary high value briefing.

It just might be the catalyst for you being and doing who and what you must to ensure this year gets off to the start that you need and want.

Remarkable is the new normal 7 part webinar series online 4.10 – 4.50 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time February 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd, and March 2nd, 9th, and 16th 2015.
Buy your ticket here.

Friday 2 January 2015

Who will your performance partners be in 2015?

"Nothing great is easy." proclaimed the great marathon swimmer Des Renford.

And nothing great is achieved alone.

Who will your performance partners be in 2015?

The great paradox of life is that we must walk our own path and yet we need others if we are to be the best that we can be.

Who will your performance partners be in 2015?

Think of your favourite sports person or sports team. Would they be who they are without the people who support them?

How about you? Who will your performance partners be in 2015?

I have imagined what might be this year. I am also very appreciative of what is and grateful for exactly where I am. I have visualised how this year will be and have a written plan in place for the first 90 days to move from where I am to where I want to be. You?

Over the next week I'll be sharing my plan with my mentors. I will be seeking feedforward from them and setting up how we will have continuous, conscious, and candid conversations around the execution of my plan. I know that without their partnership and having them hold me to account, that I am unlikely to achieve my dreams. You? Who will your performance partners be in 2015?

In a few areas of my life and work I am looking to move beyond great. I recognise that great is no longer good enough and that I must be remarkable. I know that to be remarkable I will need my mentors, my clients, my friends, and my family, in my corner. You? Who will your performance partners be in 2015?

And who will you be there for this year?

Be remarkable.

Maverick Thinkers Studio

Remarkable is the new normal 7 part webinar series online 4.10 – 4.50 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time February 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd, and March 2nd, 9th, and 16th 2015.
Buy your ticket here.