Friday 27 February 2015

I and We are key to differentiation - a candid conversation with Gihan Perera

Differentiation is one of seven areas you must be remarkable in to thrive on the challenges of change.

This week I recorded a conversation about differentiation with leveraging the power of the individual expert Gihan Perera. Enjoy and take action.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Seeing in the dark: a key to growing your business

As a boy I became afraid of the dark. My fear arose because our toilet was a few steps from the main house and a few times while in there the lights went out leaving me in the dark and literally unable to find my way back home. My Grandfather on learning of my plight gave me this advice, “Just stay still, wait awhile, and you’ll soon be able to see in the dark. I trusted him, did what he said, and overcame my fear.

In business there's often ‘dark’. We can get surrounded by it.

Think of things like that as negative momentum — the darkside. The negative momentum had such power it almost resulted in the total collapse of the world's financial system.

And focus on that word ‘momentum’ for a moment — you see it’s a safe bet that most of us think about it as a positive thing — moving forward, forward momentum.

Yet every week I observe the darkside. A client is experiencing a run of people leaving, another is trying to overcome what seems to be a sudden downturn in sales, another is faced with having to change their business model before a competitor takes away their key customers.

Negative momentum has a million faces and often therefore we don't recognise it until it's too late.

I work with my clients to help them to see in the dark, to halt negative momentum, and to shift to the awesome power of positive momentum. My main work is to help my clients to gain or regain positive momentum when for no apparent reason the flow of success stops or is halted.

To do it I developed a process for both seeing in the dark and also to better appreciate the light. My process has roots in Appreciative Inquiry which I believe to be a wonderful way of seeing the world authentically and transparently and for moving from what is to what can be.

It’s the same process that saved my life. My doctor gave me this edict several years ago: ‘have an attitude of gratitude’. I am grateful too for a chance encounter and a book called Owning Your Own Shadow (more about that in just a moment).

The Momentum process is about appreciating and being grateful every single day for what is (the remarkable, the great, the good, and also the bad and the ugly). With this as a foundation we can then truly Imagine what can be and Create a plan to turn imagination into reality. I have found no better way to create such plans than by mirroring the science of quantum leaps

One quantum leap at a time enables personal and business growth by transition. We therefore can avoid negative momentum and instead embrace positive momentum and achieve what we want.

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung referred to the darker side of our nature as our shadow. His protégé Robert Johnson wrote the book Owning Your Own Shadow.

Johnson referred to what he called "gold in the shadow". In other words, our best is often hidden in our worst.

To see ourselves as who we are, the remarkable, the great, the good, and the bad and the ugly, takes a high degree of self-awareness.

We live in a complex world that is open for business 24/7. It's simple to succumb to negative momentum without even realising it. It's also simple to embrace positive momentum. This is all about our purpose or reason, our why for being in the world.

To keep us focused on the positive and also to embrace our darkside we need people in our lives to keep us honest with ourselves, to help us with perspective, and to have candid conversations with us that count. Maybe I can be such a person for you, in a small yet significant way like my Grandfather was for me, or through a tailored leadership mastery program.

My clients tell me that I see what most people don't and say what most people won't, even when it's dark.

Be remarkable.

Monday 23 February 2015

Uncomplicating motivation and performance with Mark Sutherland

I very much enjoyed this candid conversation with world renowned sports and business coach Mark Sutherland.

He has some beautiful insights about uncomplicating motivation and performance.

Be remarkable.

For more resources to help you to master your self-leadership, leading for others, and leading for change please visit my Leaders' Lounge here.

Sunday 22 February 2015

Feel it, think it, say it

This Sunday's sparkenation.

I was honoured when a client on introducing me to a prospective client said of me "he sees what most people don't and says what most people won't."

Most people feel it, think it, yet don't say it. And we're all the poorer.

Yes timing and sensitivity are important. I know myself I have opened my mouth at the wrong time and place. Like the song says "regrets, I've had a few, but then again too few to mention."

If you feel it and think it, please say it.

“If I disappointed you and you do not tell me, then we are both at fault!”
Sign over a leaders desk.
Read more about this here.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 20 February 2015

There's a mismatch between what science knows and business does

The headline of this blog is a quote from Daniel Pink's excellent book, one of three of Daniel's books that are on my recommended reading list for real leaders. Please scroll down to the middle of the page here to access this list.

In 'Drive' Daniel highlights 3 specific areas leaders need to focus on, namely autonomy, mastery, and purpose, in order to increase the levels of self-motivation of employees and ultimately their well-being and performance.

Of course many business leaders still focus on the old carrot and stick approach - there's a mismatch between what science knows and business does.

Another mismatch is:

“Most of us think about ourselves as thinking creatures who feel but we are feeling creatures who think, and we live in a society that values what we think over what we feel”
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a leader in the world of neuroscience.

Watch an excellent TEDx talk by Jill here.

For many years now I have used the science of quantum leaps to help my clients to transition from where they are to where they want to be. I first discovered this science when a client of mine kept saying "We need to stop thinking small and start thinking quantum leaps." I was able to share with him one day after doing some research that his idea of quantum leaps was actually incorrect.

Following the principle of the science of quantum leaps is often a game-changer for my clients.

Of course perhaps the biggest mismatch between what science knows and business does is in the area of climate change. Are you ignoring the science? More importantly are you ignoring what you can see with your own eyes?

In what areas of your business is their a mismatch between what science knows and what you're doing?

What quantum leaps will you take today to change your situation and therefore vastly improve your personal and business results?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Are you making changes without consulting people?

There's a lot of fake leaders out there trying to change people.

It's a fruitless exercise and only builds resistance and resentment, which usually leads to poorer performance than was happening before.

What Real Leaders Do is co-create a culture that is so inspiring people change themselves.

There's only one thing worse than feeling like other people are trying to change us, it's discovering change/s no-one consulted with us about.

A simple example is social media platforms. There's often subtle changes made that we discover for ourselves when we login, and we're left to work it all out.

In your business do yourself and everyone else a favour, make changes with people, they'll own them, and therefore execute.

Be remarkable.

Monday 16 February 2015

What Real Leaders Do and fake ones don't

Last week I was interviewed by Gihan Perera about my thoughts on remarkable leadership. It's 35 minutes and it captures very well my key philosophies.

I have placed the recording of the interview for you to listen to at your leisure in my Leaders' Lounge here.

The interview is timely too as this year marks the 10th anniversary of my publication of the handbook What Real Leaders Do and fake one's don't, which also became my most in demand workshop and conference/in-house meeting presentation for over 5 years.

Much has changed since 2005 of course and I've been working on a rewrite of the material and a new workshop/presentation to mark the 10th anniversary and primarily to bring something fresh and exciting to the world of real leadership.

The tools, tips, techniques, and templates that were part of the original handbook, and that still work fabulously well are now inside my Maverick Thinkers Studio which along with other resources all my clients have 24/7 access to.

The new workshop/presentation

There are still some tickets left for my public workshops being conducted near my home next week and the week after. If you live in Ballarat, Colac, Geelong, Melbourne, or Werribee you can get your ticket here. I am conducting a complimentary webinar this Wednesday the 18th at 4.30 pm AEDT to explore content, show you inside Maverick Thinkers Studio, and to take questions. Please register for the webinar here.

In addition to the workshop and 24/7 access to my studio for 6 months, you can arrange two online mentoring sessions with me after the workshop which will help you to ensure that taking action on your insights, ideas, and inspiration actually lead to innovation.

I also provide this package just for you and your team as a workshop, conference or in-house meeting, or as part of a leadership mastery program. The beauty of this of course is that everything is tailored to precisely meet your needs, desires, and expectations.

FYI the slideshare below introduces my tailored leadership mastery programs and underneath are the links to the 3 programs I provide. Inside the slideshare are two videos, a short one that explains my key mentoring philosophy - you're the master, I'm the mentor, and an 18 minute video that will give you great insight into my style and content. These two videos are also on this page.

Self-leadership is everyone's business.

Leading for others.

Leading for change.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 15 February 2015

You've got no-one to blame but yourself

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Almost every interview I see with a politician has them blaming the other side or someone on the cross bench for their own predicament. There was such a situation this week on Australian ABC TV until the interviewer Leigh Sales called a halt by saying "the public are sick and tired of this continual blaming of everyone else." Spot on Leigh.

It's easy when things aren't going according to plan to blame others. The hard and ultimately successful road to take is to accept responsibility and to be accountable regardless of what has happened in the past. This is leadership. Taking the easy, cheap shot path isn't leadership, it's abdication.

This week I watched this great TED talk by Yves Morieux.

In the talk Yves quotes the following very wise words from the CEO of Lego Jorgen Vig Knudstorp

“Blame is not for failure,

it is for failing to help or ask for help.”

If some things aren't going according to plan right now, or you're feeling stuck or shackled in your life and you've failed to help others or to ask for help, you've got no-one to blame but yourself.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 13 February 2015

Wednesday 11 February 2015

7 leadership lessons from the lodge

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has survived the challenge to his leadership. For now anyway. History suggests only temporarily. This has dominated the media here for days now and I suspect the issue won't be going away anytime soon, not least because the media won't let it.

Here's my 7 lessons for you and your business.

1) Leadership is not about popularity. It is about listening. If there's dissent or disengagement in your ranks you're not listening, not communicating effectively, and something is amiss with the direction you're going in.

2) Leadership is not about self-interest. It's about enlightened self-interest, the philosophy in ethics that says we can "do well by doing good."

3) Leadership is not about cabinet solidarity pre decision making. If your not allowing candid and authentic conversation during the decision making process, that genuinely involves those who will be affected by the decision, then you'll end up with a poor decision and derision of it.

4) Leadership is not about winning at any cost. Winning is a consequence of how we play the game. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Champions win more than they lose, and when they do lose they accept it graciously and don't blame others.

5) Leadership is not about competition. It is about collaboration. The only competitor you have as a real leader is yourself. You should be competing with yourself and seeking to collaborate with everyone else.

6) Leadership is not about agreeing on everything. Real leadership is the ability and willingness to honour difference and the skill and will to find a shared-view about what I refer to as the magnificent seven.

7) Leadership is not about the past. Real leadership shows we have learned our lessons from the past, are focused on the present, and are leading people in a direction that the vast majority feel in their hearts is in their best interest.

Be remarkable.

Monday 9 February 2015

Moving to remarkable doesn’t mean you stop being resilient

My 8 ways to move from resilience to remarkable white paper is by far the biggest download from my website. If you don’t yet have it you can download by clicking on the cover as pictured below at the bottom of the page here.

After reading my paper many people in different ways have asked Does moving to remarkable mean I stop being resilient?

My answer is a resounding no.

What it does mean for me is remaining resilient yet not seeing being resilient as a struggle, rather as a strength.

Below are some insights and links to others that will help you to grow your resilience as a strength while you move to being remarkable in the areas you must to ensure you thrive on the challenges of change this year and beyond.

Ineffective leaders try to make change happen. Effective leaders create the space for change to happen. Read more here.

Virgin Unite's Head of People Anna Gowdridge has written a great article about the 5 things you need to know about the future of work. There’s also a great report by Virgin Unite and The B Team called The New Ways of Working. Details here.

The best 6 minutes on the new world of work I have watched is by my colleague Dr. Jason Fox. Take a look here.

Pursuing our purpose (reason) is sometimes problematic. My colleague from the United Kingdom Andrew Thorp has written a great article about this Branson, Barclays and the problem with 'why'. You can read it here.

The best book I have read on resilience is Resilience - why things bounce back by Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy.

More about this book here.

Being intentional, less reactive, and more conscious are all keys to being resilient.

Jeffrey Hollender provides some great insights into these here.

Stay, Stop, Start

For more than two decades an exercise I have been undertaking personally (and helped many of my clients with too) when upgrading 90 day execution plans, is to review and record what I’ll stay doing, stop doing, and start doing. It’s a great way to make resilience a strength. Doing this exercise will build your resilience as a strength.

Interesting article about stop doing here by Jaxier Bajer.

Be remarkable (and resilient).

Sunday 8 February 2015

Closing the technology/leadership/management gap

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Technology is ever-changing. And it's changed how we see and treat people. Often with negative consequences.

Advances in technology are great and can be of awesome value to our lives. Only however in my view if we have a strong sense of our humanity that is reflected in our actions. Leadership and management play a critical role. 21st century technology with 20th century or even older leadership and management is a recipe for disaster.

A key question real leaders must ask and answer with action is: How are my leadership and management adapting and growing in this mobile centric, technology driven world?

Today and for the future effective leadership is all about mobility. And management must be in sync or everything grinds to a halt.

Mobile “able to move or be moved freely or easily.”

Leadership is about feelings, emotions, matters of the heart. Leadership is a verb. Leadership is about moving people.

I define leadership as 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.

Leadership falters, and usually very badly without management. I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Management is about policies, procedures, practices, processes, systems (PPPPS’s), whereas leadership is all about people. Effective use of technology greatly assists management. There's always trouble though if our leadership isn't up with the times.

Removing and preventing conflict, difficulty, and disharmony between People and PPPPS’s is a great challenge for every leader on earth. Overcoming this challenge in part means technology can be our friend and not our enemy.

How successfully are you meeting this challenge?

I meet many people using 21st century technology. The trouble is that their leadership and management are 20th century and even older.

Be remarkable.

Friday 6 February 2015

Managing My Mind: A New Years Resolution - guest post by Jeffrey Hollender

This is a guest post from Jeffrey Hollender.

My mind is usually unmanaged. Within the boundaries of my memory and consciousness, thoughts arise, and memories flow. I worry about what I’m going to say to someone tomorrow, whether I left a document in my hotel room or the plane will arrive on time for me to make my connection. My mind acts as if it were it’s own master.

Other times,  I catch the eye of a passing stranger, setting off an imaginary story. The suitcase of a fellow passenger runs unpleasantly over my toe. The cover of The New York Times causes me to shake my head in disgust. The sun casts a gentle glow on a child’s forehead as he smiles at a puppy and I take in the unexpected wonder of life.

There is a third option. It is one I tend to forget. It involves intention. Nothing wrong with following where the flow of life takes you, unless you have a specific destination in mind. As they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

The flow of life often takes me to worry, sadness or a sense of unease. I see the glass as half empty. What’s missing? Where am I not going? These are reasonable thoughts, but they don’t help me be who I want to be. They usually cause me to bounce around the past to destinations I’ve already visited too many times.

With intention, I can look for the child smiling at a puppy, the exceptional colors of a sunrise, remember our family vacation, or indulge in the knowledge of just how fortunate and blessed I am. It’s my choice. Most often it’s a choice I don’t make, leaving my mind unmanaged.

My unmanaged mind will take the shadow of darkness that arises at the end of the day as the sun goes down and weave it into a remembered sense of depression. Sometimes I can’t escape it, but most often if I close my eyes and picture my youngest daughter hugging my as tight as she’s able, for five minutes, my mood will shift. Her memory reminds me I’m never alone. I was alone as a child. But that was then and this is now.

My New Year’s resolution is to take better care of managing my mind. Be intentional. Less reactive. More conscious.

About Jeffrey Hollender.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Pursuing our purpose is sometimes problematic

This I believe with all my heart. I also prove what I believe in practice.

Yet I agree that pursuing our purpose is sometimes problematic.

My colleague from the United Kingdom Andrew Thorp has written an insightful article about this, Branson, Barclays and the problem with 'why'. I highly recommend you read it here.

Be remarkable.

Monday 2 February 2015

Five things you need to know about the future of work

Virgin Unite's Head of People Anna Gowdridge has written a great article here about the 5 things you need to know about the future of work.

As well as carefully reading and taking in the great insights in Anna's article I highly recommend you download and absorb The New Ways of Working report too. You can download it here.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 1 February 2015

Ineffective leaders try to make change happen

This Sunday's sparkenation.

The Dawn of System Leadership by Peter Senge, Hal Hamilton, & John Kania is one of the best articles I have read for a very long time. A lot captured my imagination. None more so than the following

“Ineffective leaders try to make change happen. System leaders focus on creating the conditions that can produce change and that can eventually cause change to be self-sustaining. As we continue to unpack the prerequisites to success in complex collaborative efforts, we appreciate more and more this subtle shift in strategic focus and the distinctive powers of those who learn how to create the space for change.”

Read the full article here.

Are you trying to make change happen or are you creating the space for change?

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.