Monday 30 March 2015

How much is following the rules costing you?

I chair a think tank for my local Chamber of Commerce (Geelong) on reducing business barriers, including red tape. While in the Chamber offices last week I read the local Business News March 2015 edition 238 when the headline of a feature article The $249 billion costs of following the rules jumped out at me. The article is about Deloitte's findings in their "Get Out of Your Own Way: Unleashing Productivity" report.

You can read the report here.

There's also an excellent infograhic here.

Here's some examples of the rules from the report:

"Our research uncovered a wealth of examples:
• The small taxi fares that have to await approval from the weekly executive team meeting
• The firm that rejects application forms from potential customers if they are completed in blue ink
• The business insisting its engineers sign off on new parts at a fixed location, making them walk up to 15 kilometres a day around the workplace (see page 29)
• The rules that say receptionists must record every coffee made for a guest or letter received, but can order as much alcohol as they like
• The firm that insisted staff complete an ergonomic checklist and declaration when they moved desks, then introduced ‘hot desking’ such that everyone spent 20 minutes a day filling out forms."

What rules can you break, eliminate, change in your business that will result in immediate productivity improvements?

Here's an excerpt from my Changing What's Normal book on rules that may help you.

In a session with a mentor, one time, she asked me if I was willing to give up my rule book? I was, however, I found it very hard to do!

There are rules in society that are there primarily to protect us and fellow beings from ourselves and each other. Otherwise there would be so much more chaos than there already is that we would probably cease to exist.

We have our own rules as well however.

My rule book used to say:

Nobody should give bad service so I should tell people off when they do.

If I think something is wrong I’d better fix it before it gets worse.

Before this or that gets off the rails I should say something to ‘help’ (and I used to say it).

I should be appreciated more often.

People don’t deserve to be treated poorly and if I don’t do anything about it nobody will.

People who don’t reply to emails should be sanctioned.

I could go on and on. I once had a lot of rules!

My mentor pointed out to me that my rules are often fantasy or completely irrelevant or unknown for others.

I spent a lot of time and energy thinking about this and I agree with my mentor. I have thrown out my rule book.

I have learnt that what is, is. I am learning that the more I accept this and not try to control things, judge others, or ‘make things better’, which is what my rule book used to be all about, I am much more peaceful, powerful, inspirational, and many times more effective.

Instead of my rules I now focus on rules of engagement when the possibility of collaborating or engaging with others presents itself.

The best rules of engagement are those we have agreed to work with, which means building a relationship with others really matters before we can properly engage.

Have you got your own rule book?

Maybe if you discarded it your life would be better. I can’t comment. What you do is none of my business.

What rules can you break, eliminate, change in your business that will result in immediate productivity improvements?

Be remarkable.

PS Inspirational, influential and impactful leadership is often about getting out of our own way. It is also about getting out of the way of others. See my post Moving on meddling management and letting loose liberating leadership for more on this.

Sunday 29 March 2015

Opportunities are everywhere

This Sunday's sparkenation.

The following are two of my favourite quotes:

Opportunities really are everywhere. What decisions are you making? What actions are you taking to create and make the most of opportunities?

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 27 March 2015

It’s foolish thinking to believe it’s all about the economy and other lag measures

I am always slightly amused when economic growth figures and the like are released usually followed by fanfare.

I amused because we won’t know March quarter figures until June! as an example. It's too late then!

These kind of numbers are measurements of the past, often called lag measures. They tell us where we have been, not where we're going. I for one am much more interested in where I am going than where I’ve been. The past is done, over, finished. We can’t change the past. All we can do is learn from it.

I am yet to meet an economist, a politician, or a media person who understands this.

As an 18 year old my boss came to me one day complaining my sales were down on expectations. I complained I didn’t have enough prospects. He spun on his heels and left my office only to return 5 minutes later with a phone book. Slamming it down on my desk he said “There are plenty of prospects in there!” He then went on to explain to me that all the prospects in the world matters little unless they are qualified. He further explained that qualified prospects was a lead measure meaning if I had a certain number at any given time I would almost be guaranteed the number of sales I needed. I could increase the likelihood of sales even more he told me if I kept appointments (another lead measure) with a certain number of qualified prospects every week.

My boss was right, and understanding that lead measures matter more than lag measures has stood me in good stead all my life. It means I am never worried about or in fear of the future providing I am doing what I know works for me in the now.

The world right now is attached to outcomes or lag measures. The economy is an outcome. Profit is an outcome. What really matters is our reasons for doing something and the processes we follow to achieve them. Follow the right processes and the right outcomes are an automatic result.

We are in an economic mess in the world today because for centuries we have followed poor processes and we have kept on repeating the mistakes of our ancestors.

All the doom and gloomers do is send us (if we let them) on a self fulfilling prophecy path and we go down the same well trodden and wrong roads all over again only to end up where we have already been, except in worse shape.

When we go down the wrong road we always end up where we don’t want to be.

In your life and work are you attached to outcomes or do you follow proven processes and let the outcomes look after themselves?

What are the lead measures for your life and work that when you meet them you know that more than likely you are going to achieve your goals?

I suggest viewing these lead measures as the daily/weekly/monthly rituals you must undertake. I walk daily, go to the gym regularly, and watch what I eat so that I say in the shape I want to be in. I have a regime for staying in touch with and giving value to, the people who advocate my work and who lead me to other people likely to be interested in my work. I know that I must meet with at least four of these people every month and convert two to clients and so I have a ritual that means I meet with the four.

What are the rituals you must achieve in your life and work that tell you, you are on track to achieve your goals?

I am on the look out for business leaders, economists, politicians, and media folk I can mentor and teach them that lag measures don’t matter anywhere near as much as lead measures. Will you join me? We are building a new world. We are going to places we have never been.

Time to let the old world go.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Monday 23 March 2015

Moving on meddling management and letting loose liberating leadership

Meddling is “to interfere in something that is not one's concern.” Some synonyms are: “interfere, butt in, intrude, intervene, interlope, pry, poke, nose, busybody, interpose, obtrude, thrust.”

All of the above describe old management in my view, i.e. the idea that we need to plan, organise, direct, and control what other people do. We don’t.

Getting rid of such management is a key to building and growing remarkable workplaces.

23 years ago during a seminar for CEOs I declared management of people as a dead concept. Shock was felt in the room and there was hot debate about my definitions of leadership and management:

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.

On the day referred to above I used the word science and later changed it to practice. My definitions have stood the test of time.

I am often asked what does a remarkable workplace look like?

My short answer is:
In remarkable workplaces the vast majority of people are bringing their best to their work every day. In the normal workplace only a small percentage of people are doing this.

I am also often asked what is the fastest and most profitable way to move from normal to remarkable?

My short answer is: 
shift from performance management to performance leadership.

The table below is a small yet significant snapshot of what this shift looks like.

It is very simple to move from the left to the right. Simple rarely means easy of course. To move to the right begins with a decision to stop meddling and start letting loose liberating leadership.

As I suggest to my clients: get a shared-view with your people about where you are (reality), where you're going (possibility), why you're going there (purpose), how you'll get there (strategy), who will do what and when (execution), how you'll know you're on track (milestones and lead measures), how you will behave along the way (culture and values), and then get out of the way except for engaging in human to human conversations with people every day.

Be remarkable.

Complimentary event

Performance management is dead. Long live performance leadership with special guest Dan Groch. Online Tuesday April 21st.

If you'd like to start shifting today and can see the value of a performance partner, please contact me on +61 418 807 898. At very least in your own way join the movement to move on meddling management.

Sunday 22 March 2015

How simple is it for people to bring their best to their work every day at your workplace?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Of the 96 questions I seek answers to when I conduct a remarkability review for organisations there is one overarching question I want an answer to:

How simple is it for all the people here to bring their best to their work every day?

What would the answer be at your place?

Be remarkable.

A leader’s job is not to put greatness into people, but rather to recognise that it already exists, and to create the environment where that greatness can emerge and grow.
Intuit CEO Brad Smith

More sparkenations here.

Friday 20 March 2015

Simplification without losing the profound

In a great article Culture: Why It's The Hottest Topic In Business Today, Josh Bersin says "We believe simplification is becoming the next big thing in business." I couldn't agree more.

Just reflect on the last 24 hours of your life for a moment. You've been busy huh?
And I suspect not as productive as you really want to be.

In so many areas we have over complicated our lives.

In your business, how remarkable (conspicuously extraordinary) is your 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 therefore all about your PPPPS's (your processes, policies, procedures, practices and systems).

Do your PPPPS's make it simple for your people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that one-of-a-kind that each of us is) to everything they do? 

If you answered no or only in some areas you have a lot of simplification work to do.

As you do this work be very careful not to over simplify and therefore lose the profound.

Engage your employees in simplifying your PPPPS's. Continually ask this question: Does this enable people to bring all that is remarkable about their humanity to this transaction/interaction?

Leadership is very different to management. I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do. Is your leadership doing this? If your answer is no or not as much as it should be, then you need to simplify how you lead.

Of the many faces of real leadership to improve yours I would begin by exploring and making changes or modifications in 3 areas:

1) Are people inspired by your in person story telling and messaging?

2) Are you engaging in candid conversations with people every day about their work; appreciating them when they do well, and helping them to be accountable when their performance falls short of agreed standards/expectations?

3) When people leave meetings you have chaired are they leaving inspired and crystal clear on the actions they need to take?

Be remarkable.

"Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler"
often attributed to Albert Einstein

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Real leadership isn't a popularity contest

I watched the Australian ABC television program 4 Corners last Monday evening. The show was about why Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott almost lost the leadership recently and probably still will.

There's a lot of opinion in these current affairs shows of course and sorting opinion from fact is impossible. A theme struck me though - a lot of what's going on behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera is about trying to do what's difficult yet still being popular enough to stay in power.

This is a slippery slope in politics and so to in your business.

Real leadership isn't a popularity contest. Real leadership is about authenticity and trust.

7 ways through the maze

1) Don't make promises you can't keep.

2) If unforeseen circumstances arise and you can't keep a promise be candid and upfront with people.

3) Focus on reaching and sustaining shared-view with people. Whatever your business, your politics, or the ideology driving you, change is the constant. Change champions sustain shared-view in 7 areas.

4) Maintain harmony between being tender-hearted and tough-minded. Know when to lead with your heart, when to lead with your mind, and when a combination of both is required. Realise life is a series of often opposing forces competing for the territory; relationships and tasks, leadership and management, heart and mind; the list is endless.

5) Ask great questions with the genuine intention to understand what people really need and want and then either deliver or be candid with people when you are unable to deliver.

6) Continually share your authentic story in compelling and positive ways ensuring there is no sense of spin being felt by your audience. And beware of soundbites, the bites often kill the sound.

7) Engage daily in an ongoing candid conversation with all stakeholders. Don't just keep people in the loop though, really engage with the remarkable, the great, the good, and the bad and the ugly.

Prime Minister Abbott is in trouble because currently he doesn't live these 7 in his own way. You?

There's no doubt that real leadership means doing the unpopular when necessary. People will go with you 9 times out of 10 when you live the above. And the one time they don't probably doesn't mean the end of your leadership, rather there's a lesson you need to learn.

Be remarkable.

Monday 16 March 2015

6 Reasons Why People Hate Performance Reviews - guest post by Dan Groch

This is very insightful work by Doceo's Dan Groch.

You can read the full article here.

I'm honoured to partner with Doceo as their system adds awesome value to my work in helping people to ensure that candid and authentic conversations about performance are integral to daily work.

I'm thrilled that Dan will be my special guest in an online candid conversation on April 21st Performance management is dead. Long live performance leadership. You can get you complimentary ticket here.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 15 March 2015

The first step to winning your greatest leadership challenge

This Sunday's sparkenation.

The greatest challenge for all leaders is that there is a gap between what people do and what they’re capable of doing. This of course has massive implications for your business, let alone your life/work harmony, and your peace of mind. Read/watch more about this here.

The first step to winning this challenge is to ensure you’re doing what you’re capable of doing. Soon you’ll discover what you don’t know that you’re capable of doing. When you do that not only does everything change for you personally, you become an inspiring role model for others to change too.

I describe this as the personal change journey as pictured below. All remarkable leaders travel this path.

Self-leadership precedes leading for others and leading for change. What’s the next step you’ll take?

Be remarkable.

Upcoming complimentary personal and business growth opportunities:

Innovation is simpler than you might think Online this Thursday March 19th.

Self-leadership is everyone's business with special guest Andrew Bryant. Online Tuesday March 24th.

Preview workshop Ian Berry's Personal and Business Accelerator program In Ballarat March 25th.

Performance management is dead. Long live performance leadership with special guest Dan Groch. Online Tuesday April 21st.

Friday 13 March 2015

Promises made and kept, a great test of real leadership

Promise-Based Management: The Essence of Execution by Donald Sull and Charles Spinosa and written 8 years ago, is an insightful article. You can read it here. The diagram below from the article contains some good remedies for common challenges.

I agree that the essence of execution is promises made and kept. Such are also a great test of real leadership.

How well do you pass the test?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

There is no them, only us

In an interview with an employee of a client recently she kept saying "they" and "them" when speaking about leaders in the business.

At one point I asked "What if they were just human beings like you and me?"

There was uncomfortable silence for a few seconds.

She then said "It's really odd (LOL) that I have never thought of my bosses as human beings before."

"Well" I said "When we see people as human beings first, we often view the roles they're playing differently."

Everyone you work with and meet is a remarkable human being.  Some may not be showing it right this minute. Have you met a perfect human being?

See everyone as the remarkable, one-of-a-kind that each of us is.

When there's no them or they, only us, everything changes.

Be remarkable.

PS I get it that some people want to insist on them and they, separateness, and their way being the only way. The great paradox about us/we is that I'm only accountable for me.

Monday 9 March 2015

7 significant actions I'm celebrating that my clients are taking

The latest Deloitte Human Capital Trends report you can download here makes very interesting reading. The only thing I don't like, as I have said many times before, is the term "human capital", a degrading term for human beings if there ever was one.

Here are the 10 top trends

The report reminded me that there is much to celebrate about my work with my clients. Here's the 7 significant actions I'm celebrating that my clients are taking

1) Eliminating performance appraisals

Humans beings don't want to be appraised. We want to be appreciated.
When we feel appreciated we become more accountable and better performance follows.

2) Having candid conversations about performance with each other that are integral to daily work

The Deloitte report contains a great story about Adobe's "check-in" policy. My clients are guru's at checking in with one another. Checking up on people is a distant memory.

3) Realising management is about PPPPS's (policies, procedures, practices, processes, systems)

My clients ask the following question several times a day about PPPPS's - Does this make it simple for people to bring their best to their work? If the answer is no changes are made. This is every day innovation at its best. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify while heeding Albert Einstein's great advice "Everything should be a simple as possible, yet no simpler."

All other management is dead for my clients. The days of planning, organising and controlling people are over, finito, expired.

4) Learning and gift (talent) enhancement is for everyone not a select few

There is no war on talent. That idea is BS. Learning opportunities are everywhere and for everyone. My clients are taking all opportunities and ensuring that anything from outside (including my work!) is tailored and integrated.

My clients also embrace the fact that learning opportunities don't cease when times are tough. For my clients learning and development is not a discretionary investment when times are good, rather an ongoing commitment to ensure the business thrives in good times and the not so good times.

5) Leadership development is for everyone too

Self-leadership is everyone's business. My clients know intimately that the only real test of leadership is whether or not more people are leading.

6) Profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business

Purpose driven organisations are the present and the future. My clients know their why and are pursuing it with passion.

7) The future of business is 100% human. 

Please read a great article on this here by Virgin Unite's Jean Oelwang.

My clients don't worry about B2B or B2C or any of that crap. They know that everything that really matters, and no matter how great technology becomes, is human to human.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 8 March 2015

Being comfortable with the uncomfortable is a key to great work

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Doing the best I can .. is actually not the same as, "doing everything I can."

When we tell people we're doing the best we can, we're actually saying, "I'm doing the best I'm comfortable doing." As you've probably discovered, great work makes us uncomfortable. 
Seth Godin

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 6 March 2015

What would you do today if you were brave?

When I heard Jana Stanfield sing this song live at conference a few years back it was a defining moment in my life. I left the event intending to be and feeling braver. And I became braver in my actions.

If I Were Brave
 by Jana Stanfield and Jimmy Scott

What would I do, if I knew that I could not fail?

If I believed, would the wind always fill up my sail?

How far would I go?
What could I achieve,
 trusting the hero in me?

If I were brave, I’d walk the razor’s edge,
 where fools and dreamers dare to tread.

I'd never lose faith, even when losing my way.

What step would I take today, if I were brave?

What would I do today, if I were brave?
 What would I do today, if I were brave?

What if we’re all meant to do what we secretly dream?

What would you ask, if you knew you could have anything? 

Like the mighty oak sleeps, in the heart of a seed,
 are there miracles in you and me?

If I were brave, I’d walk the razor’s edge,
 where fools and dreamers dare to tread.

I'd never lose faith, even when losing my way.

What step would I take today, if I were brave?

What would I do today, if I were brave?

What would I do today, if I were brave?

If I refuse to listen to the voice of fear,
 would the voice of courage whisper in my ear?

If I were brave, I’d walk the razor’s edge, 
where fools and dreamers dare to tread.

I'd never lose faith, even when losing my way.

What step would I take today, if I were brave?
What would I do today, if I were brave?

What would you do today if you were brave?

Great song. Great questions. What will you do?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Looking for wisdom with Ricardo Semler

Ricardo Semler is a hero of mine and one of the inspirations for my Maverick Thinkers Studio, the third place my clients have 24 access to before, during, and after we work together.

Ricardo's book Maverick was a gift my children gave me for Father's Day in 1994. I was then 3 years into having my own business and struggling. I embraced Ricardo's practical wisdom in my own way, made many changes to my way of working, and haven't looked back.

Ricardo's 2003 book The Seven-Day Weekend also came to me at a pivotal time in my life and work.

Ricardo's TED talk is a classic about maverick thinking and bringing common sense wisdom to our work and our schools.

Be remarkable.

Monday 2 March 2015

Innovation is simpler than you might think

I recorded this video as one way of reminding you that innovation like self-leadership is everyone's business.

I'm conducting a special webinar about innovation on Thursday 19th March at 4.30 pm AEDT. You can get your complimentary ticket here.

The following week on the 24th at 5 pm AEDT I am thrilled to be having a candid conversation with Andrew Bryant on Self-leadership. You can get your complimentary ticket for this second webinar here.

I look forward to seeing you online.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Your leadership and management are driving your momentum (positive and negative)

This Sunday's sparkenation.

The speculation about the future of Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues. He is a victim of negative momentum and his own leadership and management and lack thereof.

The same is true for you and me.

Your leadership and management are driving your momentum (positive and negative).

21st management is all about PPPPSs (policies, procedures, practices, processes and systems). Do your PPPPS's make it simple for people to bring their best to their work? Your truthful answer to this question has profound consequences. I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

21st leadership is all about people.

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 which of course is a key to positive momentum. 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.

How 21st century are your leadership and management? Your truthful answer to this question is a clear indication of whether you're riding the wave of positive momentum or struggling to breathe in the torrent that is negative momentum.

And remember this: leadership increases momentum (positive and negative) and management maintains it.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.